Washington DOC Gets Green Guidance

“Washington has a robust sustainability program in place,”  said Stephanie Davison, one of the consultants provided by the National  Institute of Corrections. “So it will be interesting to see how Washington can  take its already solid system, ratchet it up and push the programs further.”

In May or June consultants will be in Washington to lead a  strategy session that will include input from DOC staff members and  representatives from the Department’s partners including The Evergreen State  College and the Department of Natural Resources.

Washington DOC has had a sustainability plan since 2003 and  is considered a national leader in the green corrections movement, which is a key reason the state was  selected.

“We use  sustainability to reduce the environmental, economic and human cost of prisons,”  said DOC Secretary Bernie Warner. “We are honored to get another opportunity to  build on these efforts at no cost to our agency.”

Washington DOC asked the consultants for assistance in  developing plans for sustainable purchasing, bridging funding gaps for  programs, and educating staff and offenders about the value of living  sustainably.

“We will be able to advance our sustainability initiatives  in ways that would not be possible otherwise because of limited resources,”  said Julie Vanneste, DOC’s Sustainability Coordinator.

The National Institute  of Corrections is working with FHI 360, a development organization that uses evidence-based  approaches to improving health, nutrition, education, economic development,  environment and research around the world.

The Sustainable  Prisons Project, a partnership with The Evergreen State College, has received  several  national awards, including  from the National Science Foundation and Harvard University.

Maryland and Minnesota were also selected to receive the  assistance. They will also receive similar assistance with a focus on building  a sustainability plan and creating green jobs. After the two-day session  Washington will be responsible for following through with the plans and will  receive periodic help from the consultants to refine the plans.

The three states must also report results to NIC and track  the progress of the plans over the course of their implementation.