Some State Prison Systems Are Getting Green Upgrades


At Washington state’s Cedar Creek Corrections Center, says the New York Times, inmates grow organic produce, compost the prison's food waste, take part in ecological research projects with a university, and produce honey from the prison's own hives. The state corrections department has 34 environmentally certified facilities, with 923,789 square feet of certified space added in fiscal year 2008 alone. Other states are rethinking the old concrete-box approach to prisons with energy efficiency and other “green” upgrades.

California prisons have announced 16 green retrofitting projects, which are estimated to save $3 million in energy costs each year. The state has solar power fields at two facilities, and plans to build six more in the next year. A new $176 million juvenile detention facility in Alameda County is the first U.S. jail to get a “gold” environmental certification. Other green projects – from wind turbines to biomass boilers – have been announced by corrections departments in Indiana, Nevada, and Virginia.

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