Praise Program Offering Environmental Education to Prison Inmates

Target: Kelli Bush, Sustainability in Prisons Project Manager

GoalPraise beneficial program that offers environmental education to incarcerated people.

At a Washington state prison, inmates are working to rehabilitate the endangered Western pond turtle. Working directly with the turtles for up to six hours a day, incarcerated individuals say their time with the animals allows for reflection and the development of empathy and patience. This program is part of the Sustainability in Prisons Project, a partnership that aims to bring environmental education opportunities to incarcerated people, fostering the development of professional experience as well as social skills.

This program is a unique partnership between Evergreen State College and the Washington Department of Corrections. The Sustainability in Prisons Project was developed to create opportunities for conservation education in correctional facilities. The program has proved mutually beneficial with incarcerated people showing great interest in the jobs created through the program, and the endangered animals seeing successful release back into the wild.

Other programs created by the partnership include environmental literacy courses, master gardening programs, and a dog training and adoption program – all carried out by incarcerated people in correctional facilities. Those who participate in these programs develop usable skills that could help them find employment in the future. Additionally, they experience immediate psychological benefits from having contact with nature.

Opportunities for incarcerated people can be very limited, and the options for prison jobs are often boring, back-breaking, or irrelevant in the outside world. The Sustainability in Prisons Project is providing jobs for incarcerated people that are engaging and of global importance, fostering lasting, positive change in the prison experience. Commend this organization for creating dignified opportunities for inmates to thrive and develop valuable skills and for rehabilitating endangered species at the same time.


Dear Ms. Bush,

We, the undersigned, would like to commend the Sustainability in Prisons Project. By creating an opportunity for incarcerated people to aid in the rehabilitation of endangered species, you have made a positive and lasting impact on both.

Thank you for providing conservation education to incarcerated people who may not otherwise encounter that opportunity. We appreciate the combination of these efforts in the Sustainability in Prisons Project, and hope that the benefits of your efforts will continue far into the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Unsplash

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