The primary goal of corrections in the United States is keeping the community — everyone from offenders to those who work within prisons and jails — safe. Policies and strategies within the corrections community, however, increasingly emphasize cost containment and environmental sustainability. Addressing these two goals in tandem has proven to be a great opportunity for correctional leaders and their partners.
FHI 360’s Green Corrections project contributes to the goal of making the corrections system more environmentally sustainable by facilitating the sharing of effective practices and lessons learned.
A recent competition, the Green Corrections Challenge, highlighted exciting and innovative green practices in local, state and federal correctional facilities and reentry programs in the United States. The competition, part of the Green Corrections project, showed how dedicated corrections professionals are minimizing negative environmental impacts, saving taxpayer dollars and preparing offenders for green jobs.
The challenge winners, by category, are:
- Correctional Facilities
- FCC Victorville Federal Bureau of Prisons (California) implemented a program to reduce solid waste by 75 percent over a five-year period. FCC developed an in-house waste-sorting facility for recycling and a composting program.
- Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (Ohio) developed a task force that identifies areas in which to reduce water consumption, energy use and solid waste.
- Education and Training
Delaware Department of Corrections, Sussex Community Corrections Center teaches offenders hands-on skills, including raising bees and producing honey, practicing aquaculture and growing native grasses for beach restoration.
- Reentry Programs
Wisconsin Department of Corrections provides youth with basic work skills in farming and food production through The Grow Academy.
- New Green Corrections Concepts
Indiana Department of Corrections, Branchville, developed green programs that are integrated, support facility operations, provide offender education and training, and help the community. Offenders can earn a state-recognized work-readiness certificate.
The Green Corrections Challenge provides a powerful way to expand and replicate green correctional practices across the nation. Between January and April 2015, FHI 360 and the National Institute of Corrections will host a series of webinars featuring the work of the winners.
Visit www.nicic.gov/greencorrections for more information about the upcoming webinars.