For years, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has supported growth of green corrections as a professional discipline through research, technical assistance, and the sharing of information through resources housed in its Information Center, the largest library in the United States dedicated to corrections information. NIC's work greatly expanded the availability of resources on green corrections for the field, providing correctional stakeholders with ready access to information that could help them implement green corrections programs in their own local areas.
The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System was among the latest documents published by NIC in the area of green corrections and was the catalyst for creating the Green Corrections Challenge. The document outlined the framework for creating green corrections programs and applying green processes to corrections operations. Yet, despite the publication's breadth, it captured only a small portion of possibilities available for implementing green corrections. The Green Corrections Challenge is one answer to capturing a wider array of opportunities. Through the challenge, citizens, students, and professionals in criminal justice are called on to contribute to the knowledge base of ideas available for being "green" in corrections.
The Green Corrections Challenge consists of three related activities:
The Green Corrections Challenge: Inviting stakeholders to share their innovative practices and drive competition in the field. These should be replicable programs and practices in areas such as reentry programs, facilities management/complex operations, and training programs. Leading innovations will be announced during a Green Corrections Symposium.
The Green Corrections Symposium: Bringing together agency experts and national stakeholders to share best practices and learn about innovations from the field.
The Green Corrections Innovation Webinars: Featuring four innovations from the Challenge. Details about the selected innovations will be shared with the larger corrections community and interested stakeholders after leading innovations are announced.
As described in the Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System, the four areas that form the foundation of green corrections include:
Correctional facilities that consider energy use and efficiency, water and waste management, recycling programs, and other facilities management practices.
Education and training that provide offenders with the relevant skills, competencies, and credentials to support a continuum of learning opportunities during a transition to a greener economy.
Reentry programs that are reconfiguring to integrate new green skills and competencies or creating new programs driven by an increased demand for green goods and services.
Correctional industries addressing sustainability efforts ranging from:
- Creating core business strategies for sustainable production processes and practices
- Developing new strategic partnerships
- Producing and distributing environmentally friendly products and services
- Preparing offenders for the most relevant skills for the emerging green economy