There are several. One of the best ways, currently being tried by the Washington State Department of Corrections, is to put convicts to work learning and practicing sustainable techniques, such as beekeeping, caring for endangered frogs and manning compost heaps. Everything from wind turbine projects to biomass boilers are on the drawing board for prison projects in other states like Virginia and Indiana. In addition to being much more environmentally friendly than the traditional prison jobs of tarring roads or stamping license plates, green prisons make good economic sense too, for more efficient facilities mean less energy costs and lower overhead for the taxpayers who are footing the bill. Some prisons have even become LEED-certified, such as Federal Correctional Institute No. 3 in Butner, North Carolina. Criminologists also say there are benefits to the inmates: if they’re put to work doing something good for the environment increases security and general well-being of the prison population.
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