The Ohio Green Prison Project (OGPP) worked on a pilot project with the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) in Marysville, Ohio, to demonstrate that training incarcerated people to retrofit prisons with energy-efficient practices can make facilities more cost-effective. The project provided trainees with job skills to prepare them for careers in the burgeoning green economy, making them more likely to succeed when they return to their communities. The lower operating and energy costs resulted in savings for ORW and Ohio taxpayers.

In addition to this pilot program, OGPP provided technical assistance to ODRC on other sustainability efforts, including the creation of a Three-Year Strategic Sustainability Plan; implementation and expansion of Roots of Success environmental literacy and job readiness program; planning for the Sustainability in Prison Project initiatives in Ohio; and establishing other mutually beneficial community partnerships.

OGPP operated with support from the Second Chance Act.

Why We Need This Project

According to the ODRC, approximately 28,000 individuals are released every year from Ohio’s state prisons. An estimated 36 percent return within three years. By providing inmates with training and hands-on experience, the Ohio Green Prison Project helped them to capitalize on the burgeoning green-energy economy after their release. The goal was to help people reenter their communities prepared to pursue promising job opportunities and sustainable career paths—an important step toward individual success, lower recidivism rates, and enhanced public safety.

In Ohio and throughout the country, corrections expenditures have become a huge percentage of state budgets. The ODRC reports that its prisons spend $55 million on utilities alone every year. Adopting sustainable practices will allow the Ohio prison system to conserve valuable resources and achieve significant operational savings, in addition to reducing its environmental impact. With these goals in sight, OGPP worked to provide a sustainable environment and sustainable career paths for incarcerated people, outcomes that can also benefit their families and communities.

For more information, please contact Kaitlin Kall.