Classroom photo
Students at Stafford Creek Corrections Center participating in the program’s Climate Change Symposium. (Photo credit: Ricky Osborne)

In 2017, nearly a hundred inmates at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Washington state learned about climate change threats and disaster resilience.

Bush: “We feel that incarcerated people have been overlooked as participants in the environmental movement. We need to engage all people.”

Kelli Bush of Evergreen State College codirects the Sustainability in Prisons Project. The initiative runs environmental education programs at Washington’s 12 state prisons.

The project initiative runs environmental education programs at Washington's 12 state prisons. Click To Tweet

Prisoners can participate in gardening, composting, beekeeping, and butterfly conservation. And they can take classes that prepare them for environmental jobs when they’re released.

Bush says this kind of education can make a difference in people’s lives both behind bars and when they return home.

Bush: “They go from seeing themselves as somebody who’s just incarcerated to seeing themselves as connected to something much more, that they are part of the environmental movement, that they’re helping in their communities, that they’re bringing knowledge back to their families. Incarcerated people routinely report that having this opportunity is really valuable to them.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Communicating Climate