fence and buildings at Oregon State Penitentiary

Oregon State Penitentiary

An innovative healing garden for a maximum security prison.

Salem, Oregon
12,940 square feet
Spring 2019
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A state penitentiary is not the first place one might expect to find inspiration and innovation.

But that is exactly what a small group of inmates and Department of Corrections leaders at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) have dared to do: follow their inspiration and innovate. With hope and a vision, they reached out to Kurisu.

While Kurisu gardens have a history impacting the way in which healthcare is delivered in facilities such as hospitals and substance abuse recovery centers, this partnership with incarcerated members of the Asian Pacific Family Club (APFC) and Oregon’s Department of Corrections at the Oregon State Penitentiary will be a pioneering project. It will be the first Japanese-style healing garden of its kind in an Oregon maximum security prison.
group working on garden at Oregon State Penitentiary
The healing garden at OSP has the potential for long-term impact on how justice is defined and rehabilitation achieved.

As Japanese gardens have done for thousands of years, this garden will offer unique opportunities for self-realization, tranquility, and peace. For inmates experiencing depression, anger, stress, and total disconnection from natural elements, recovering a sense of awe and appreciation for nature’s beauty can inspire transformation at the deepest levels.

measuring at Oregon State Penitentiary
Kurisu’s vision for this Japanese-style healing garden is a restorative space that, by providing opportunity for physical, psychological, and spiritual nourishment promotes resilience in individuals and communities both inside and outside the walls.
This inmate-initiated project has inspired a diverse network of supporters connected by a dedication to creating a more compassionate society and shared belief in the transformative power of the human spirit.

Funding for the Memorial Healing Garden project at Oregon State Penitentiary is made possible entirely by donations from individuals both inside and outside the walls and generous grants from community supporters including the Oregon Community Foundation, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Social Justice Fund and Meyer Memorial Trust. This inmate-initiated project began with a vision from Asian Pacific Family Club (APFC) members at OSP. The project has been five years in the planning.  To learn more about the APFC's mission and efforts to make the healing garden a reality, click here.

Kurisu broke ground on the Memorial Healing Garden in Spring 2019 and the project is currently under construction.

To learn more about the collaboration between Kurisu, the APFC and Oregon's Department of Corrections to create this truly unique prison healing garden, download this PDF.

The Memorial Healing Garden project at OSP still seeks your support! Funds will support garden and sustainability features such as a zen-style garden, authentic Japanese gate and bridge, solar power and rainwater collection systems. To make a tax-deductible donation now, please visit the project's partner organization, The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) at www.nakasec.org. Thank you!

Blue image of lotus flower

Healing Gardens

Our Japanese-style healing gardens are designed with an intention for restoration on the deepest levels. We incorporate the ancient philosophies and techniques of Japanese garden design to reawaken the connection between people and nature – between ourselves and the larger, timeless cycles of change and regeneration.

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