Ex-offenders to Beautify Wilmington's Public Safety Building

Posted on  05/06/2013 5:10 pm

A joint press release from the City of Wilmington Department of Police and the Delaware Center for Horticulture

A very special spruce-up of the landscaping around Wilmington’s Public Safety building happens Tuesday May 7 at 10 a.m. That is when members of the Delaware Center for Horticulture staff, volunteers, and ex-offenders who have completed or are in landscaping training in TheDCH’s Return to Work program, step up to fill 39 large containers with foliage and flowering plants at William T. McLaughlin Public Safety Building on North Walnut Street in preparation for the May 11 arrival of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

The royal couple’s visit commemorates the 375th anniversary of the founding of the New Sweden Colony, which later became the City of Wilmington.

The planting project, jointly conceptualized by the City of Wilmington Chief of Police Christine Dunning and The DCH Executive Director Pamela Sapko, beautifully illustrates the good that can come for everyone when the public sector and non-profit organizations work together, said Sapko.

“For men and women transitioning out of Delaware’s penal system, Return to Work provides valuable job skills and work experience – often cited by advocates, social workers, government officials and ex-offenders themselves as one of the most crucial but also the weakest link to successfully re-integrating into society,” said Sapko. “It is a moment of institutional pride to see these men and women whom TheDCH staff has come to know and respect as colleagues and friends using their horticulture skills to enhance an important Wilmington facility.”

Chief Christine Dunning agreed:

“Reentry programs are a critical step in the criminal justice system. By providing ex-offenders with job skills and work opportunities we can reduce recidivism and encourage successful reentry into society.”

TheDCH Return to Work program got its start with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding in 2009. Four years later, it continues through the generous support of numerous public and private partnerships. For more about Return to Work, read The Scoop newsletter story, or watch this Delaware First story.

For more about the Wilmington Police Department, click here. For more about the royal festivities, visit the New Sweden Alliance website.