Gorgona Island Prison Has Inmates Making Wine

Rehabilitation and agriculture go hand in hand

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Gorgona Island Prison off the coast of Italy has put their prisoners to work in a vineyard.

In September of 2012, the Marchesi de'Frescobaldi wine dynasty decided to invest in the rehabilitation agricultural program on Gorgona Island. The money was geared to improving the production of vines that had been planted in 1999, but later abandoned. With the vines cleaned up and taken care of, $60 bottles of wine are now being released to restaurants on the mainland.

Instead of sitting in their cells, the 40 inmates living on Gorgona Island spend their rehabilitation time outdoors. Besides the recent addition of the wine industry, the prisoners grow produce like tomatoes and pepper plants. Several kinds of cheeses, olive oil, and chickens are also exported from this island.

In the Huffington Post, many of the inmates describe this setting and out-door lifestyle as an “escape,” and “free.” Polar-opposite of Italy’s notoriously crowed jails, it is not surprising that there is a long waiting list to come to Gorgona Island. Supporters of this type of rehabilitation believe that this work engages the inmates by “building relationships with outside companies.”

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