TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
ed59dd21-4107-46f9-90a3-e99d8b83e06e.jpg
Only four percent of the former inmates raising bees at sweet beginnings return to prison. (AP Photo)

How honeybees are keeping men out of prison

Last week we heard that the United States prison population is now so large, and the cost so high, that the attorney general was pretty much forced to announce that prosecutors would no longer prosecute non-violent drug offenders under any law with a mandatory sentence.

That policy change comes too late for Amir Futrell.

"What did you do to get in trouble?" asks Correspondent Don Dahler.

"Cocaine," says Futrell.

"You got busted for selling?" Dahler asks again.

"Yes, sir," says Futrell.

"What kind of time did you do?" asks Dahler.

"Six years," Futrell responds.

Six years in prison usually means your job prospects are pretty bleak. Amir Futrell's seem pretty good. Dahler found him tending honeybees.

"I didn't want to revert to what brought me into the penitentiary, so I was looking for a new way. You have to try something different - and this was it," says Futrell.

It's a program in Chicago called Sweet Beginnings, created by Brenda Palms Barber. Barber hires former inmates and turns them into beekeepers.

"These are people who had served time for crimes, but could not get back into the labor market because of their backgrounds," says Barber.

You wouldn't think it, but it turns out Chicago is a great place for honeybees.

"There are lots of weeds on the West side, and there are weeds that produce nectar. And in fact, they produce some beautiful delicious honey, as well," Barber adds.

Dahler thinks there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

But more than a metaphor, there are also results. Only 4 percent of the former inmates raising bees at Sweet Beginnings return to prison.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
Top Stories

  • They're Back
    The Seahawks have returned to Renton, but not all of them as Danny O'Neil explains

  • On the Eastside
    An on-going investigation underscores a growing sex-trafficking problem in Bellevue
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.