Community Contributions

Community Contribution programs are supported by hundreds of organizations across the state. Most developed as a relationship between a single facility and nearby community organizations, often non-profits. Typically, the community organizations are already engaged in work that benefits the community; creating a partnership with a prison means the organization can offer benefits to more people. Many Community Contribution programs were established long before they were considered part of SPP; many were already identified by their own branding. SPP seeks to add to the programs’ identities, and to document and promote their achievements and best practices.

For the corrections facility, partnering with  community organizations provides inmates with more options for meaningful work, and allows them to contribute to the world outside the secure perimeter. For many inmates and corrections staff, these programs provide a welcome relief from an otherwise stressful and stark environment. Here we highlight some of these programs; for full details, see the Community Contributions section of SPP’s annual reports.

Reclaim, Repurpose or Restore, and Donate Programs

This view of an area of WSP’s Sustainable Practices Lab (SPL) gives some sense of the lab’s incredible productivity.

Consistent with the earliest days of SPP programs, WA prisons strive to “throw nothing away,” to transform potential refuse into something of value. In some cases, these programs’ creations directly meet an organization’s need: donating quilts to a homeless shelter, refurbished computers for schools, and growing produce for food banks. In other cases, programs donate handmade or restored creations for organizations’ fundraising events. The productivity and generosity of these programs are best illustrated by statewide numbers:

Item Statewide totals for July 2017-June 2018 (approximations) Lead Facility
Garden area 17.2 acres cultivated WSP institutional garden: 457,380 ft2
Produce grown 271, 120 lbs. to food banks & prison kitchens WSP institutional garden: 151,470 lbs
Crafts & furnishings from reclaimed materials 18,000+ items donated WSP’s Sustainable Practices Lab (SPL): 17,000 (that may be a multi-year total)
Refurbished bicycles and wheelchairs 847 donated SCCC: 340
Refurbished computers 4,321 at-cost for School District AHCC: All
Firewood 721 cords donated AHCC: 571 cords
Water treatment systems 236 donated WSP’s SPL: All
Flower & vegetable starts 8,000 donated WCC: 7,000

Dog and Cat Programs

Dog handlers at Cedar Creek Corrections Center train dogs for the specific needs of the veteran who will later adopt the dog. Photo by Jody Becker-Green.

Dog handlers at Cedar Creek Corrections Center train dogs to the specific needs of the veteran who will later adopt the dog. Photo by Jody Becker-Green.

Dog and cat programs are common in prisons across Washington State. Nearly all of Washington’s prisons have formed one or more partnerships with community nonprofits to create pet programs. Incarcerated individuals receive support from partner organizations to provide excellent animal care and obedience training, and—in a few cases—service and/or therapy training. We have heard from inmates and staff that pet programs are a benefit to all directly involved, and to the larger prison community as well. Sometimes, participants of these programs say that working with dogs or cats transformed them.

“I’ve had a chance to transform a dog’s trauma into joy through love and discipline. In the end, my efforts liberated not only the dog, but me as well.” 

Here is an overview of dog and cat programs reported by host prisons in September, 2018.

Prison Program Program Partners Highlights for July 2017-June 2018
AHCC Pawsitive dog training Diamonds in the Ruff and Spokanimal Graduated 16 dogs in past year; 2 graduation ceremonies; Humane Society hosted a “Yappy Hour” on September 5 to raise funds for the program.
CBCC Dog training and adoption WAGS 25 dogs graduated from the program in past year; hosted reunions for adoptive families and incarcerated trainers.
CBCC Cat program WAGS Hosted by two units in close custody; 17 cats gone through program.
CCCC Training dogs for veterans Brigadoon Service Dogs 20 dogs trained to the needs of individual veterans in the past year; 2 graduation ceremonies.
CRCC Ridge Dogs Benton Franklin Humane, Adam County Pet Rescue 105 dogs graduated from the program in past year; Supported program volunteer helping to publish participant essays on program experience.
CRCC Mother and kitten foster Benton Franklin Humane, Adam County Pet Rescue 20 kittens in the program in past year
LCC Dog Adoption Program Humane Society for Southwest Washington Weekly classes and one-on-one training with handlers; 48 dogs and puppies in the program in past year.
LCC Cat Adoption Program Humane Society for SW WA, West Columbia Gorge Humane Society Education and training every 2nd week; 46 kittens and cats adopted in past year.
MCC-SOU Cat program Purrfect Pals 291 cats and 71 handlers in 3 years of the program.
MCC-TRU Dog training and adoption Summit Assistance Dogs 16 dogs graduated this year; 4 graduations; 4 are presently in advanced training to needs of individual recipients.
MCCCW Pawsitive Prison Project Kitsap Humane Society 291 cats and 71 handlers in 3 years of the program.
OCC OCC Dog Program Olympia Peninsula Humane Society 167 dogs graduated 2010-17; data on available for FY18
SCCC Freedom Tails Harbor Assn of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA) 34 dogs graduated; 3 graduation ceremonies
SCCC Service dogs for veterans Brigadoon Service Dogs 9 dogs trained to the needs of individual veterans .
WCC Training dogs for veterans Brigadoon Service Dogs Don’t have data for FY18
WCCW Prison Pet Partnership First in-prison pet program in the country! In past year, graduated 35 dogs, 23 incarcerated employees; one scholarship for reentry
WSP BAR Units kitten program Blue Mountain Humane Society Socializing and raising kittens for adoption; ~70 kittens in the program this past year.