Impact of a nature-based intervention on incarcerated women [2018]

The purpose of this paper is to understand the impact of a short-term nature-based intervention on the social-emotional well-being of women incarcerated on a mental health unit in a state prison.

This research used a mixed method approach with individual interviews, a focus group, and a visual analog scale.

Qualitative results found that women appreciated the party and the way the plants improved the physical environment. Women were also emotionally and relationally impacted by their participation and practiced skills related to planting and working with people. Quantitative results indicate that women were happier, calmer, and more peaceful after the intervention than before.

Research limitations/implications
Study limitations include sample size, self-report data, and use of a scale not yet tested for reliability and validity.

Practical implications
Findings suggest that nature-based interventions can serve as an adjunct to traditional mental health therapies in correctional settings. Nature-based interventions can support women’s goals to improve their mental health.

To date, there is limited knowledge about the impact of nature-based interventions on incarcerated individuals coping with mental health concerns.

Barb Toews, Amy Wagenfeld, Julie Stevens

International Journal of Prisoner Health, 2018