Healing: Prisoners and the Environment

Image courtesy dogwood33.blogspot.comBy Dianne Frazee-Walker

The Sustainability in Prisons Project’s (SPP) main objective is to educate prisoners about environmental conservation. The inmates are learning innovative ways to use nature’s resources to save tax-payers money in their own prison backyard. The project involves collaboration between Washington State Department of Corrections, Evergreen State College, inmates, prison staff, scientists, and community members.

Not only does SPP save money and the environment, but it provides prison inmates with a sense of dignity. They learn teamwork and leadership skills by working together on the prison grounds using nature’s resources to sustain the environment. 

Inmates are provided with an opportunity to improve their lives on the inside and the lives of those living outside. The key fringe benefit the prisoners receive is exposure to nature. Most incarcerated individuals are confined inside prison walls and are rarely exposed to the outdoors. Working outside has healing effects on the human psyche, which is what the detainees need when it is time to function outside of prison.

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