Press-Tribune: Inmates learn skills at Caldwell farm

inmate carries weeds from field
Courtesy Idaho Press-Tribune
By Olivia Weitz, Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — Matthew Davidson could patch roads or do janitorial work during his time at the South Idaho Correctional Institution, but he's decided to harvest fruit instead.

Davidson is part of a 20-person crew that works at the Caldwell-based Symms Fruit Ranch in an offender training program run by Idaho Correctional Industries.

A plumber by training, Davidson is familiar with farm labor. He grew up helping out with potato harvest in eastern Idaho before he went behind bars for drug charges.

Working in the orchards was appealing, Davidson said, because it pays more than any other job on the compound. He plans to put the $64 a week he typically makes toward renting a halfway house when he gets out of prison.

“To save 500 bucks it takes a minute,” he said. “I’m not trying to burden my family any more than I have. I’ve put myself here, and I need to put myself out."

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Story published: 08/21/2017
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