Green Prison Farms, or Learning Behind Bars

November 4, 2008 / No Comments

There’s a green prison farm, the Cedar Creek Corrections Center, about 25 miles outside Olympia, the capital of Washington state, where inmates, murderers and elsewise, are being used to cultivate the green prison farms.

inmate at the the cedar creek corrections center Green Prison Farms, or Learning Behind Bars

A medium-security inmate at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center, uses a botanical keybook to identify moss as part of a forest conservation research project

It is estimated that the States have paid $49 billion to feed, house, clothe, treat and supervise 2.3 million offenders in 2007. It’s about time the inmates of the 1,821 facilities begin feeding for themselves, in the least, making good use by recycling what they can.

One prison grew some 8,000 pounds of organic vegetables. Another prison uses waste wood chips to run water boilers. Yet another uses a wind turbine to generate power, saving $2,280/year. A Blythe, CA prison makes use of 6,200 solar panels, enough to provide power to 4,100 homes.

In North Carolina a prison switched to chemical free cleaners and vegetable based inks. In Oregon, old appliances were replaced with energy-efficient ones. Old prison blues are recycled to make diaper bags for women’s shelters and dog beds for animal shelters.

Yeah, it’s easy to tell inmates to recycle, be good stewards, make better use of materials. I wonder, do we all need to take a turn behind bars to learn what is best for our planet?

Image by DiscoverMagazine