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.
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.
Examples of community contribution programs that have been successful include:
- Shelter dog and cat training for public adoption (one or more programs in nearly every prison in Washington state!)
- Advanced dog training: providing service animals to veterans and other individuals in need
- Salvaging fabrics from worn clothing and sheets for sewing into quilts for donation to community shelters
- Assisting State Parks with prescribed tree thinning for forest health, processing the downed tree material for firewood, and delivering the wood to low-income families in the community for home heating
- Starting seeds and growing plants for a local non-profit
- Restoring bicycles for community donation
- Salvaging used shoes either for donations or recycling (ground up for new materials)
- Mattress recycling programs
- Inmate-created coloring books for children and inmate families
- Growing crops for local food banks, schools, and community events
- Composting food waste from a local school
- Fire fighting crews
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. Download our one-page overview on SPP’s Community Contribution programs here.