Plants can help decrease levels of prison violence and self-harm, study suggests

Published March 27, 2021, 10:30 AM

by Vina Medenilla

Green spaces are proven to reduce the risks of mental disorders and improve one’s learning. Numerous studies prove that contact with nature through urban green spaces is beneficial to humans, making it an essential element in places such as hospitals, parks, and schools. A recent study in England and Wales also indicates that plants can contribute to lowering cases of violence and self-harm in prisons. 

Researchers of the study considered factors such as the age of jails, security, population, and the type of prisoners they accommodate. It showed that prisons with more green areas had lower incidents of self-harm and prison assaults, either prisoner-to-prisoner or prisoner-to-workers. It goes to show that increasing prisoners’ access to greenery can lessen co-prisoner assaults by 6.6 percent, 3.2 percent assaults on staff, and a 3.5 percent drop in cases of self-harm. In England and Wales where the study was conducted, it is said that the cases of suicide or self-harm are increasing, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The lead researcher said that there must be green spaces in all prisons while old or existing ones can add more plants and greenery in any possible areas. Gardening projects might also help create positive effects. 

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