Mission: We empower sustainable change by bringing nature, science, and environmental education into prisons.


In response to the dual crises of ecological degradation and mass incarceration, we aim to reduce recidivism while improving human well-being and ecosystem health. SPP brings together incarcerated individuals, scientists, corrections staff, students, and program partners to promote education, conserve biodiversity, practice sustainability, and help build healthy communities. Together, we reduce the environmental, economic, and human costs of prisons.

What that looks like

The Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP) is a partnership founded by The Evergreen State College and Washington State Department of Corrections. With vital input from many additional partners, we develop and deliver a wide range of science, sustainability and environmental education programs in all 12 Washington State prisons. Recent highlights include:

  • In a single growing season, prison gardens grew ~492,000 lbs. of produce for food banks and prison kitchens; one example.
  • In six years of the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly program, reared and released more than 13,000 caterpillars and adult butterflies onto south Salish lowland prairies.
  • Since 2013, more than 1,100 students graduated from a 50-hour environmental course prepared for environmental careers, resource savings, and positive community involvement.
  • Since 2009, prairie conservation nurseries grew and delivered more than 2 million rare and endangered species for Salish lowland prairie restoration projects.
  • Our report for July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 describes more than 180 programs! See the summary or full text.


Sign up to receive SPP’s newsletter twice a year.
Follow our stories on Facebook