What is the Sustainable Prisons Project?

The Sustainable Prisons Project connects prisons with nature.  The mission is to reduce the environmental, economic and human costs of prisons by training offenders and correctional staff in sustainable practices. Equally important, we bring science into prisons by helping scientists conduct ecological research and conserve biodiversity through projects with offenders, college students and community partners.

 How does it work?

The Department of Corrections and Evergreen State College have come together to form this unique partnership.  The project focuses on three key areas: 1) green-collar education and training; 2) sustainable operations of prisons; and 3) scientific research and conservation.  With these foci in mind, we bring researchers and practitioners into four Washington prisons to provide scientific lectures and trainings, lead workshops, and teach sustainable practices. 

What are the outcomes?

Through ongoing workshops and trainings, we have several ongoing conservation projects, including the propagation of prairie plants, captive rearing of the endangered Oregon spotted frog, and maintenance and growth of several hives of bees.

 This project continues to grow and evolve from its inception in 2004.  We continue to note the high level of engagement and interest that offenders bring to every workshop, training, or lecture, while prison officers and staff note reduced violence and behavioral infractions among participating offenders.

The Sustainable Prisons Project has garnered significant local, national and international media attention


The Sustainable Prisons Project has largely outgrown it’s roots as a Research Ambassador Program, and now has its own staff and website.