In his first State of the State speech, Gov. Nathan Deal said criminal justice reform would be at the top of his to-do list. As Deal prepares to leave office eight years later, Georgia's prison population is 12 percent smaller than previously projected. The incarceration rate for black men is down 30 percent and the number of people committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice has dropped 46 percent.
For those who have served time, staying out of the system is an uphill climb, which is where Gangstas to Growers digs in. The Atlanta program helps young people who have been incarcerated get back on track – through urban farming, education and activism.
Abiodun Henderson founded Gangstas to Growers in 2016 as a training program for formerly incarcerated young adults. Each cohort of trainees learns to farm on black-owned farms around Atlanta. The trainees also learn about entrepreneurship and social issues, like mass incarceration. Henderson and trainees Derriontae Trent and Raven Cantrell stopped by “On Second Thought” to talk about the program.