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NIC's Initiative on Green Corrections

Why make corrections "green"?

The NIC Green Corrections Initiative seeks to increase awareness among corrections professionals about environmental issues related to the practice of corrections and focus attention on the need to make correctional facilities more energy and resource efficient. The initiative also explores the feasibility of introducing green-collar job readiness training programs in facilities, assessing the capability of correctional industries to adopt ”green” practices, and identifying strategies to assess cost saving options for correctional agencies that operate self-sustaining facilities and programs.

The NIC publication, The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System, provides a background for this initiative and highlights four main recommendations for the greening of prisons and jails.


  1. Create a Sustainability Work Group at your agency

  2. Hold a Retreat for Your Executive Team to get them on board

  3. Implement Budget Savings Strategies and Offender Employment Opportunities

  4. Inspect What You Expect - Track your Performance Management

The initial scope of the NIC Green Corrections Initiative included provision of technical assistance support for three states: Minnesota, Washington, and Maryland. These states worked to develop strategic plans for implementing or improving green corrections programs in their local area. A summary of the technical assistance results can be found in The Green Corrections Project: Action Plans and Lessons Learned. Project outcomes also included the creation of a community of practice to promote the use of green practices throughout country. From the community of practice and strategic plans, a framework for green corrections will be created and shared nationally.

The Green Corrections Challenge is one answer to capturing a wider array of opportunities. Through crowdsourcing, the Challenge calls on citizens, students, and professionals in criminal justice to contribute to the knowledge base of ideas available for being and doing "green"; in corrections.

Additional Green Resources was created to provide a forum between providers of sustainable products and services and correctional administrators. The website promotes dialogue, provides news on sustainable projects in corrections and provides training and technical assistance networking services.

Philadelphia's Prison System is Fighting Food Waster and Recidivism with an Organic Farm
McKeever, Amy, 2016

The unique prison program diverts over 650 tons of food waste a year into compost and is training inmates to farm without chemicals.

Green Corrections Symposium Notes
National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Information Center, 2014

Best practices within the green corrections framework of correctional facilities, education and training, and reentry programs.