Washington State Penitentiary (WSP)

AreaProgramProgram Partners (partner with DOC, Evergreen, or both)Recent highlights – updated December 2020
WSPMonarch butterfly program, restoring Pacific Northwest populationsWashington State University Department of EntomologyProgram currently suspended; in previous years the program raised Pacific NW monarchs from egg to butterfly. In 2018, raised and released 580 adult butterflies, all with wing tags for scientific tracking and reporting.
WSPInstitutional Sustainability GardenDonate to Blue Mountain Action Council and Christian Aid CenterIn 2020, grew ~89,000 lbs of produce, donated 23,530 lbs, remaining 65,054 lbs. for prison kitchen; 2018 grew ~110,000 lbs of produce, donated 2,471 lbs; remainder to prison kitchen, saving $122,677
WSPWaste sorting & recyclingIn 2020, ~275,200 pounds of cardboard metals, and batteries diverted to recycling; new recycle shop improved sorting
WSPComposting, mainIn previous years, 75.9925 tons of post-consumer food waste to compost; 85.605 tons of post-consumer food waste to in-ground composting to improve soil in wheat fields; saves ~$150,000 in disposal fees
WSPElectrical upgradesThis past year, Facility Electrical Dept continued LED lighting retrofits: 90 perimeter pole lights, 282 fluorescent to LED replacements, 66 light fixtures, and 21 wall packs
WSPWater conservationGovernment rebates via PPL Electric Utilities; ICON Systems Inc.East Complex Big Yard switched from city water to well water. Net savings of ~$16,000 from city water and electricity costs
WSP-BARKitten programBlue Mountain Humane SocietyTemporarily suspended due to COVID-19; in previous years, 125 kittens and cats (mostly kittens) socialized and raised for adoption
WSP-BARRoots of Success, environmental courseRoots of SuccessProgram stalled and is currently inactive as the facility is not purchasing new workbooks.
WSP-BARCrochet ProgramPartnership with SPL, creating donation items, supports four paid positions for incarcerated workers
WSP-MHUHorticultureFive flower plots dedicated to members of mental health programming
WSP-SPLSPL overviewReceive materials donations from partners; donated to 550 charities since start of SPL 2012Program donated 9,000+ items to nonprofits and provided 12,750 items for state use. All technicians receive education and training. COVID-19 was a large focus for SPL: 20,785 COVID-19 related items (face shields, barriers, and over 15,000 masks) were made out of donated fabric for the community and state.
WSP-SPLSPL: Learning CenterCreates education curricula, manages inventory, coordinates events, TV repair and rental
WSP-SPLSPL: Wood Carving & Wood ShopWSP Employees Veterans’ Committee, Hard Headz, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, Fallen Outdoors, Salmon for Soldiers and other non-profit groups2,609 items were created for state use. 1,943 items created and donated to nonprofits and charities.
WSP-SPLSPL: Furniture RepairSort and salvage donated materials; 1,929 pieces of institutional furniture were repaired and put back into use; instruction on safety and tool use
WSP-SPLSPL: Aquaculture and AquaponicsGrew 800lbs of lettuce for prison kitchen; built new outdoor tilapia pond and improved inside program structures; technicians train and practice in fish breeding
WSP-SPLSPL: Worm FarmProduced 5 tons of worm castings within the past year and reduced institutional landfill impact by 5+ tons; worm products donated to nonprofits and used in institution gardens
WSP-SPLSPL: Art programVarious nonprofit partnersMore than 492 unique and amazing paintings were created using recycled pallet wood and old bed sheets for canvas, which were donated to various charities
WSP-SPLSPL: QuiltingFallen Outdoors, United Methodist Church, Brian Fisher Memorial org, local retirement/convalescent homes.Using donated or cast-off fabric and thread, constructed 480+ lap quilts, quilts, and blankets for charity
WSP-SPLSPL: Creative projectsIn past year, created more than 60 projects such as puzzles and sculptures
WSP-SPLSPL: Water treatment systemsProject 41, Ohio State University, Duke University, Suez, Worldwide Assist, Assist InternationalNew, larger scale water filter system project is in the planning stages: 5-year project with 300 large water filters to be constructed at SPL for large-scale project throughout the Navajo Nation
WSP-SPLSPL: Waste sorting and recyclingSorts all of the waste created within the SPL for recycling/re-use/repurposing; shreds scrap cardboard and papers for composting and worm farm programs; non-repairable clothes cut up for cleaning rags; remaining cloth scraps are then shredded to be used as stuffing in the teddy bears.
WSP-SPLSPL: Roots of Success, environmental courseRoots of SuccessGraduated 23rd class August 2018; 353 graduates so far; program on hold until funding available
WSP-SPLSPL: Green ZoneFarm to school, Lettuce Grow,
Master Gardening program, OSU
8,900 lbs. of produce donated to Walla Walla Senior Center and local soup kitchens in response to increased need for meals due to COVID-19. Farm to school still operated this year with the local school districts, and SPL supplied 1,200 starter plants and 2,000 lbs. of compost. Educational learning for youth also provided by Farm to school organizers.
WSP-SPLSPL: Green Zone composting40+ tons kitchen food waste combined with waste paper results in 20+ tons of finished compost; compost spread in Green Zone and other grounds
WSP-South ComplexRental garden boxes48 raised bed gardens, available to individual renters for personal use; program created with goal to reduce violence
WSP-MSUBeekeepingWest Plain Beekeepers, Washington State Beekeepers Association9 healthy hives; 44 Beginner certified beekeepers so far; two classes are in session now – a Beginner course with 7 incarcerated students and 2 staff members and a Journeyman course with 7 incarcerated students! Tried a new mite treatment this Spring that has worked well for their bees.
WSP-MSUSheep conservation programWashington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State UniversityProgram active but some work is pending the appointment of a lead animal researcher for WSU; previous year, 9 Suffolk ewes produced 18 lambs; 10 female and 8 male; partners developed new data tracking systems and protocols. Certification and materials are in development
WSP-MSUFlower gardensPollinator-friendly flower gardens, boxes, and baskets; added several new planter boxes and a pollinator garden of clover
WSP-MSURental garden boxes38 raised garden bed boxes used by 58 individuals; limited movement during COVID-19 pandemic caused some difficulty in accessing gardens. Despite these challenges, program received ~100,000 hours of participation
WSP-MSUDog ProgramWalla Walla Humane SocietyPrevious reporting period, 20 incarcerated individuals served 2,632 hours as handlers and walkers; currently suspended due to COVID-19
WSP-MSUCommunity crewCity/County of Walla Walla, Veterans Administration, Port of Walla Walla, Walla Walla Fairgrounds, Walla Walla Landfill, Walla Walla County Private Properties, and local Cities and/or Counties such as Waitsburg, Dayton, College Place, PrescottSustainability-related activities included landscaping, mowing, trimming, brush removal, cleaning out creeks, tree and shrub planting for fish and wildlife habitat, and pumpkin harvest; During COVID-19, crews have not been allowed out into the community and have focused on maintaining facility grounds

Articles about WSP


Growing food on a greater scale: WSP’s Institutional Sustainability Garden

Another Stellar Year for the Legendary Penitentiary Bee Program

Resourceful Art


LED Retrofits Pay Off

Sheep Husbandry Program: A New Collaboration for Conservation

A New Wildlife Conservation Program! Sheep Husbandry at WA State Penitentiary

Teddy bears and rebuilt bicycles: From prison to the community

Liaisons are our Roots for Success


Inmates Assemble Life-Saving Clean Drinking Water Systems

Sagebrush in Prisons

Busy as a Bee at WSP


Washington State Penitentiary Collaboration for the Birds!


Sustainable Practices Lab at WA State Penitentiary – Part 2

Sustainable Practices Lab at WA State Penitentiary – Part 1


Washington State Monarchs Going the Distance


Cat Program at WSP Has Staff & Inmates Smiling, Cats Purring

“Root View”: My Experience as a new Roots of Success Instructor

“Root View”: My Experience as a new Roots of Success Instructor

Sustainability Seminars begin at Washington State Penitentiary