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Between 2011 and 2019 more than 2,300 trees were produced by the prisoners. - Ministry of Justice photo -

Published Wednesday, June 16, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sustainable tree farming program opens up social insertion opportunities for prisoners, according to Fiorella Salazar Rojas, Minister of Justice. It allows for them to have a job, receive training in tree productions and wood furniture fabrication.

Between 2011 and 2019 more than 2,300 trees were produced by the prisoners, according to the ministry.

The new trees planted in Sabana were produced in nurseries cared for by prisoners as part of the "Una Nueva Sabana" program (A New Sabana in the English language) of the Ministry of Justice, which is the institution in charge of managing prisons in Costa Rica.

Sabana Metropolitan Park, located in San Josť Province, is surrounded by native tree species such as urucas( Trichilia havanensis ), savanna oak ( Tabebuia rosea), yellow bark (Handroanthus ochraceus ), and golden fig (Ficus aurea), among others.

Sabana is a 72-hectare urban park where cultural, sports and recreational activities take place. Before the pandemic, 38,000 people visited the park weekly. Inside the park resides the National Gym, the Art Museum and the National Stadium.

Prisoners are not only growing trees, but they are creating furniture for the park. The prisoners have produced 475 picnic tables, 40 recycling stations, 114 signs and more than 40 garbage cans, among others.

Their furniture making expands outside of the park too.

The San Luis Penal Center jail, located in Santo Domingo Canton in Heredia Province, made the wooden furniture from the workshops set up inside the jail.

The Jorge Arturo Montero Penal Center, in San Rafael Canton, Alajuela Province, is where the prisoners maintain a tree nursery inside the jail. They receive the saplings from different parts of the country. The specimens remain inside the nurseries until they reach about two meters in height, the appropriate size to be transplanted to the park.

What other skills could prisoners learn from jail? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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