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Can prison life be greener? The Sustainable Prisons Project thinks so…

prison-garden

You probably don’t use the words “sustainability” and “prison” in the same sentence very often. The housing and feeding of inmates requires huge amounts of water and energy, though, and generates tons of waste. The Sustainable Prisons Project, a partnership between the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Evergreen State College, works to make prisons more efficient… and perhaps even reduce recidivism rates by providing “green collar” training to inmates.

Started in 2004 as a simple project to use dwindling water resources at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center more efficiently, the project now involves food production, recycling, composting, and even beekeeping. Plans for the project include not only building on progress at Cedar Creek, but also expanding the program to three other facilities. The program is even working with national organizations like the Nature Conservancy to protect and restore endangered prairie perennials.

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DOC officials see the project as a true win-win: not only can the system save money, but also address mental health challenges and recidivism among inmates by providing them with meaningful work that engages them in issues which extend beyond the prison walls.

Is it time to start using “sustainability” and “prison” in the same sentence more often? Is this a sensible investment in both resource efficiency and prisoner rehabilitation? Let us know what you think…

via Examiner.com and Evergreen Magazine

Images credit: Benjamin Drummond / bendrum.com Used with permission