|Architecture & Green Facilities|
|By Terry Campbell, Professor, Purdue University Global|
Our article this month looks at architecture and green facilities. I had an idea what is involved when looking at ‘green corrections.’ Yet, I did not realize the amount of material easily accessible for this topic. After review of various information, I narrowed down some key areas to share with you and also to include my views. A common word that appeared throughout all data was ‘sustainability.’ There are generic and various definitions for this, I selected the following from https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/learn-about-sustainability#what:
“Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” Some correctional agencies have been creative with projects while others have done little.
In November 2014, the “Green Corrections Symposium” met to discuss and formulate plans for corrections community green practices. This group came up with a working definition for the greening of correctional facilities; “development of self-sufficient facilities that consider energy use and efficiency, water and waste management, recycling programs and other facilities management that reduce the negative environmental impact of correctional facilities (and potentially reduce costs).”
I would like for you to check with your agency and see what they have in place for green practices in corrections. If there are none or limited, take the next step and offer a written suggestion. An example would be recycling and to what extent. If recycling is used, are employees and inmates participating or is this contracted out. The reason I ask these questions is to see if any resources are collected and where they are being used. As you know, prison budgets continue to grow at alarming rates and resources are precious. Any cost-saving initiatives that can be implemented are savings. We can also look at the cost of implementing various green programs and types of recognizable savings available. Also, is inmate labor being used, are the inmates learning a potential job skill in the green job market, etc. This can be a win-win situation not only for corrections, inmates, and the community, but other entities as well.
Architecture and new prisons are desired yet not easily attainable due to limited resources. However, this should not prevent maintenance departments from looking at ways to become green. Some areas to consider; use and amount of water being used on a daily basis. Are there any water leaks, running water in toilets and other receptacles? How are these leaks reported, what is the time for repairs, are parts available and inventory to utilize when repairs are necessary, etc. Is maintenance using green parts when applicable or applying only quick fixes. We know the costs of water and any minor leak can add up to significant savings. Along with the leaks, are we changing out air filters and performing scheduled maintenance at correct intervals. Some additional areas to consider; HVAC, lighting, toilets/urinals replacements that are energy efficient, roofing materials, walls, use of solar energy, and any additional areas emphasizing energy conservation. Have we looked at the costs to replace items and considered using green items? Yes, there are challenges in everything we do, yet are we going to be the innovators and take corrective action or continue to just go day-to-day with only minimal progress at times.
Many of our correctional systems participate in agriculture programs and utilize green houses. This is another way inmates that are eligible can learn on-the-job skills and apply them upon release. In recent years we have seen an increase in inmates learning about composting, horticulture, growing native grasses for beach restorations, acquaculture- raising of fish and other food items, landscaping, planting trees, recycling, and beekeeping. I am sure there are many more jobs out there that fit in the ‘green corrections category.’ I just wanted to share some that you may or may not be aware of. Something we can be sure of, these types of activities are positive and the community overall likes these activities and inmate participation. Some states also provide their inmates completing programs with a certificate and necessary job skills for entry level jobs in the emerging green environment and economy.
As I mentioned previously, there are a tremendous amount of resources available online. The following item was created by the National Institute of Corrections and is an Annotated Bibliography; Green Corrections: Resources for Criminal Justice Professional and Community Partners. www.nicic.gov/Library/028124.
There are five sections in this bibliography: Education, Facility Management, Operations, Training and Programs, and General Green Corrections. This is a must read to learn more about green corrections.
Over the years we have read and heard about recycling and energy saving strategies. Yet, how many of us have taken the next step to learn more about this dynamic area and have actually taken corrective steps to implement many of these initiatives. I look at our world today and think about the many changes I have seen in my lifetime. At the same time, I often wonder what our world will be like in five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now. One area I am sure of, we need to practice ‘green and recycling,’ not only for our world, but also for our children, grandchildren, and our future generations. We cannot continue at the pace we are without helping our environment and looking at alternative ways to save energy and/or alternate energy sources. We also have an obligation to ensure we are putting forth our best effort in corrections to implement these same concerns and teach those offenders who are interested in change and have a commitment to help resolve these problems and concerns, and not to ignore these areas. We have an ideal opportunity for many of our offenders to learn and enter society with marketable skills in the green job market.
Stay safe out there.
Thanks and best regards,
Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Kaplan University, School of Public Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles by Campbell
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