Mothers Behind Bars Nurture Relationships With Visitors In This Unusual Prison Garden
“Home” is not a word typically associated with prison environments. People living inside prisons must endure isolation, tight spaces, loss of identity, and separation from loved ones. But Iowa State University associate professor of landscape architecture Julie Stevens, and a design-build team made up of design students and incarcerated women and staff at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW), are working to employ the benefits of nature to improve connections between incarcerated individuals and their loved ones. Together, they have created an outdoor space where incarcerated women can forget their identity as inmates and step back into their roles as mothers or grandmothers, sisters, or aunts.