Prison officer Jonathan Theophille reaches into a nesting box at Her Majesty’s Prison Farm’s chicken coop last Thursday and pulls out fresh eggs. (Photo: ERIC VOORHIS)

A brood of chickens moved all at once, some flapping through the air, as Jonathan Theophille opened the door to the penned area and stepped inside. A loud clucking ensued.

“I kind of lost count. But I’d say we have about 600 chickens now,” said Mr. Theophille, the farm supervisor.

Groups of chickens began to settle, some perching on tall rows of wooden nesting boxes. Feathers swirled through the air. Beyond the fence wall of the chicken coop, the glimmer of the Caribbean Sea could be seen far below: Guana Island was easy to spot, and in the distance, a faint suggestion of Anegada sat on the horizon.

It’s the same view inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison see each day. Just up the hill from the prison, on the northeast corner of Tortola in Balsam Ghut, is a five-acre piece of land that’s home to a small farm run by inmates and prison officers.

Mr. Theophille, a prison officer, reached into one of the nesting boxes last Thursday and pulled out two large brown eggs.

“I’d say we get between 35 to 40 dozen eggs a day,” he said. A native of Dominica, Mr. Theophille has been working in the prison service for about four years, he said, adding, “But I’ve been farming my whole life.”

Currently, there are five prisoners who work on the farm with Mr. Theophille, and they each have different daily chores.

See the Sept. 6, 2012 edition for full coverage.

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