Social and Ecological Infrastructure for Recidivism Reduction

Social and Ecological Infrastructure for Recidivism Reduction

Virtual Conference

March 18 - 20, 2021

Watch the recordings of the sessions.

About the Conference

This virtual multi-day conference is co-convened by Boston College and Yale School of the Environment and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the intersection of societal and ecological solutions to reduce recidivism through plenary sessions and workshops. It will convene researchers, practitioners, community leaders, and policy makers who work at the intersection of correctional programs, community-based interventions and ecological sustainability.  Together we will learn, connect, recharge, and plan. 

Watch the recorded sessions.

Schedule of Events

12:30pm to 1:00pm

Welcome & Introduction

Matt DelSesto

Colleen Murphy-Dunning

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Not Just a Gardening Program: A Dynamic Approach to Healing, Transformation and Reentry

Insight Garden Program (IGP) offers an innovative and multifaceted 48-week curriculum - with a mission to reconnect people in prison to self, community and the natural world.

In this session, you will hear from IGP staff and alumni about our own transformation from a single garden program to an intersectional organization that impacts people in prison and reentry at 13 facilities.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IGP shifted to a correspondence based curriculum, expanded our wrap-around reentry support, increased formerly incarcerated leadership in the organization, and deepened our legislative advocacy.

As we look to the future, we see exciting developments on the horizon as also our purpose and direction continues to evolve. Some ideas in cultivation include the introduction of Citizen Science into our curriculum, a college credit or certification earning component to our program, and the idea of an IGP farm.

Karen Hsueh, Co-Director of the Insight Garden Program

Arnold Trevino, Reentry Coordinator and Co-Facilitator at Insight Garden Program

Sol Mercado, Nursery Technician at Planting Justice

2:15pm to 3:15pm

Restoration Not Incarceration: Lessons Learned from an Ecological Rehabilitation Program for the Formerly Incarcerated

This panel will present empirical data and anecdotal findings from an exploratory, qualitative research study that examined the impact of Great Plains Restoration Council’s (GPRC) environmentally based pilot program Restoration Not Incarceration (RNI), which targeted the restoration of Houston (TX) prairies, bayous, wetlands, and Gulf Coast shore, in conjunction with rehabilitation and recidivism reduction of young adults with a history of involvement in the criminal justice system. The program was based on an interdisciplinary framework that combined ecopsychology and social work to promote ecological health through a structured curriculum, psychosocial group work, and ecological restoration work in nature. Preliminary findings showed that RNI helped young adults reintegrate into society by achieving new insight and was associated with improved life outcomes. This panel will also discuss important challenges faced by participants. Implications for ecopsychology and social work practice will be discussed, as well as areas for future research in criminology.

Christine Norton, Professor of Social Work at Texas State University

Jarid Manos, Writer and Founder of Great Plains Restoration Council

3:30pm to 5:00pm

Workshop on Implementing Empowering Environmental Education in Prison and Jail Settings

This workshop will focus on how to implement empowering environmental education programs in prison and jail settings. Building on what we can learn from an environmental literacy and work readiness program called “Roots of Success”, that is taught by prisoners who are trained, certified and paid to teach the class and used in hundreds of prisons, jails and reentry programs throughout the U.S., the workshop will address the following policy, procedural, and practice-oriented questions related to environmental education and work-readiness programming in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities.

The workshop will provide conference participants with an opportunity to discuss issues related to implementation, practice and impact.

Raquel Pinderhughes, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University

Grady Mitchell, Certified Roots of Success Instructor and Master Trainer

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Sustainability In Prisons Project: Developing Transformative Partnerships for People and Ecosystems

The Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP) empowers sustainable change by bringing nature, science and environmental education into prisons. The first SPP programs were developed within a single prison, with dual emphases of reducing resource use and developing a model for ecological conservation programs. Reduced resource use through sustainable operations has become standard practice in Washington prisons. At the same time, ecological conservation and education programs have improved and expanded significantly, broadening positive impacts and catalyzing culture change. SPP currently includes 200 partner and ally organizations contributing to more than 200 programs in all 12 Washington State prisons.

To respond to a world with increasing environmental and social challenges, SPP believes it is imperative to invest in collaborations that increase access to environmental education and empower underserved populations. SPP partnerships and projects promote education and conserve biodiversity, improving both human well-being and ecosystem health. Co-founded and co-directed by The Evergreen State College and Washington Department of Corrections, we bring together incarcerated individuals, scientists, corrections staff, students, and other partners with the aim to provide benefits to everyone involved and reduce recidivism. Our partnerships are challenging, rewarding, and central to our success.

Presenters will include leadership from The Evergreen State College and Washington State Department of Corrections and an SPP Advisory Panel member and formerly incarcerated participant. Together they will describe the SPP model and programs, discuss partnership challenges and successes, highlight efforts to work across differences, and share some of what they have learned about program impacts. 

Kelli Bush, Co-Director of the Sustainability in Prisons Project

Steve Sinclair, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections

Carolina Landa, Statewide Reentry Council Coordinator in Washington State

2:15pm to 3:45pm

Gardening Inside and Out: Reflections on Connecting with our Social and Ecological Environments

In a system and a society where people are denied opportunities to interact with land and nature and have access to spaces of social interaction and ecological engagement, how can we resist and transform? In the Bard Prison Initiative’s (BPI) Urban Farming & Sustainability program, we create these opportunities by integrating college credits with agricultural and food/social/climate justice training, building links from prison gardens to land-based careers or stewardship opportunities after release, and empowering our alumni to become changemakers in the communities they return to through fellowships and internships.

Using a public health prevention framework, this panel will explore how justice-involved individuals interact with the land and its built and natural environments through gardening, food production or food justice/apartheid/sovereignty work. This panel will be moderated by a BPI Faculty Advisor and our panelists are alumni of BPI programs. Panelists will be asked to reflect on (1) the nature of the relationship between the environments they came from and the social fabric of their communities; (2) how participation in gardening or agriculture programming with BPI or otherwise while incarcerated changed their relationship with their peers and the built/natural environments; and (3) how their current work in the fields of public health, advocacy and social justice is improving the social and ecological infrastructure of their neighborhoods and the health of their communities.

Stacy Burnett, Public Health Advisor at New York City Health + Hospitals

Manny Gonzalez, Teacher and Founder of NYS Health Markets/Farmers To-Go Bags

Alex Hall, BPI Housing Associate & Co-Owner of strength gym JDI Barbell

Demetrius James, BPI Public Health Fellow

Floyd Jarvis, Former BPI Public Health Fellow & Executive Director of Canarsie Neighborhood Alliance

William Jett, Fleet Manager at GrowNYC

Jocelyn Apicello, Faculty Advisor for BPI's Urban Farming & Sustainability program and Community Engagement Internship

4:00pm to 5:00pm

Bars without Barriers Prison Outreach: STEM Education, Prisoners, and Their Families

Bars without Barriers: Turning Prisoners into STEM Role Models for their Children” was designed in 2015 when Sci-Port discovered that incarcerated families were un-served by the science center/museum. The first year was supported by a local grant (Beaird Family Foundation) which leveraged federal funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for 3 more years. Through Bars without Barriers, Sci-Port teaches STEM communication strategies and activities to soon-to-be-released offenders in the Work Re-entry program at the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. Program basics: 1) Six weekly themed lessons (What is Science, Science in/at… house, yard, supermarket, city, work), each of which includes specific skills and activities. 2) Between lessons, supervised, whole-group family visits allow Offenders to practice the skills they’ve learned and engage in the activities learned the previous week. Non-incarcerated caregivers receive a 3-month membership to Sci-Port upon their first visit. 3) Offenders completing the program receive a certificate along with a one-year membership to Sci-Port. Weekly themes, activities, and skills: hands-on activities are chosen and lessons designed according to three primary objectives: childhood development; informal science education; and facilitation, inquiry and engagement. We choose activities that are easy to replicate at home and require only inexpensive, readily-available materials. Our goal is to inspire curiosity, rather than to convey specific content knowledge. Learning can happen anywhere and with anything. We serve an average of 264, 246, and 110 Offenders, children, and non-incarcerated caregivers per year, respectively. The program has generated substantial local media coverage and community goodwill. Ages of children: age 0-1, 8%; age 2-5, 34%; age 6-7, 18%; age 8-12, 37%; age 13+, 2%. Up to 70% of Offenders in the program complete 6 sessions out of 12. Caddo Correctional Center (CCC) staff are present at each visit and also engage and interact.

Heather Kleiner, Co-Founder of “Bars without Barriers” Prison Outreach

David Boone, Director of the Caddo Correctional Center’s Work Re-Entry Facility

Ebony Mitchell, Sci-Port Outreach Assistant for the “Bars without Barriers” Prison Outreach Program

Dianne M. Clark, Executive Director of Sci-Port Discovery Center

1:00pm to 2:30pm

Gardening in Carceral Settings Across the U.S.

This panel of three teams will present on garden projects in three different states – Oregon, Alabama, Ohio– representing diverse carceral contexts and institutions. Our presenters have recently formed an alliance around gardening in prisons and will utilize this space to deepen our mutual understanding of differences and commonalities in institutional and state settings, as we attempt to bring garden-centered social and ecological justice to various carceral environments. Through Growing Gardens’ Lettuce Grow program, Rima Green and Mirabai Collins facilitate 16 prison garden programs in the state of Oregon since 2010. For the last ten years Lettuce Grow has tracked recidivism among their participants (4%), worked with various educational formats and curricula, and shared from their ample experiences working in multiple prison facilities and with diverse populations. Sharon Everhardt, Stephen Carmody and Brenda Gill are developing a prison garden program in a large maximum-security prison for women in Alabama. They have received USDA funding to implement this garden and will also address how they evaluate their program with applied sociological methods. Daniela Jauk and Andria Blackwood have partnered to initiate and facilitate a garden in a community corrections facility for women in Ohio. The panel will focus on specific challenges of carceral gardening with transitional populations and discuss the strategic planning processes they facilitated within the organization.

Rima Green, Director of the Lettuce Grow program at Growing Gardens

Sharon Everhardt, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Troy University

Daniela Jauk, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Akron, Ohio

Stephen Carmody, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Troy University

Andria Blackwood, Research Specialist for Oriana House, Inc.

Brenda Gill, Professor at Alabama State University, Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences

Mirabai Collins, Program Coordinator for the Lettuce Grow program at Growing Gardens

2:45pm to 3:45pm

Social and Ecological Impacts of the Prison Food Experience: Insights from the Food in Prison Project

Food is an integral part of the human experience. It not only nourishes our bodies, but also expresses identity, communicates values, and connects us to the places and landscapes we inhabit. Nowhere is the power and impact of food better illustrated than in prison, where meals range from bland and unappealing to those that contain spoiled meat labeled “not for human consumption.” A lack of healthy options often leads to chronic dietary-related diseases, mental health issues, and a decrease in overall well-being. Food becomes another form of punishment—one whose effects last long after the sentence is over.

Impact Justice’s Food in Prison Project spent 18 months exploring how the quality, quantity, and experience of food in prison affect physical health, mental well-being, and human dignity, as well as how food can be used as a tool for supporting reentry and reducing recidivism. We engaged with currently and formerly incarcerated people, corrections leadership and staff, and a variety of experts and advocates in different fields to learn about the state of prison food in the United States and investigate its impacts on individuals, communities, and the larger social fabric. This panel will bring multiple voices—including formerly incarcerated people and corrections staff—into dialogue to address this critical issue that lies at the intersection of the movements for environmental, economic, racial, and food justice. We will explore the ways that food systems within prisons, from procurement to meals to garden and culinary programs, can be transformed to support our shared goals of public safety and ecological sustainability as we work to dismantle the structures that drive mass incarceration.

Leslie Soble, Food in Prison Project Research Fellow for Impact Justice

Terah Lawyer, Program Manager for Impact Justice’s Homecoming Project

Roy Waterman, Co-Founder of Drive Change

Mark McBrine, Food Service Manager at Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston, Maine

4:00pm to 5:30pm

Workshop on Creating Responsive Therapeutic Places to Improve Wellbeing

Interest in and research on nature/people relationships and the role of green spaces, including “therapeutic gardens” and “healing gardens,” in reducing stress and supporting health has expanded over the last decade, with a strong focus on healthcare settings. More recent research and design has focused on community and alternative settings such as correctional facilities. Increasing evidence finds that humans are genetically programed with an affinity for nature. This concept is known as biophilia, the empathic and sympathetic attachment with non-human living things. In accordance with biophilia, connecting with nature is necessary for optimal human function. Outdoor places of calm, respite, rehabilitation, education, and wonderment are critical to human wellbeing and development, especially in places of high stress, trauma, or discomfort. One important way to connect with nature is in specially designed gardens targeted to address unique conditions that affect the users, such as those found in correctional facilities. What then, is a “therapeutic/healing garden?” Isn’t every garden a healing garden, every landscape a therapeutic landscape? Are special plants, furniture, objects, or a huge plot of land necessary to have a healing garden? How does one design a garden to meet the needs of people who are incarcerated? These questions and more will be addressed in this workshop. 

Participants will also learn about ways to transform an outdoor space into a healing environment that supports and nurtures physical, emotional, and even spiritual well-being, as well as rehabilitation, stress reduction, and re-focusing. We will explore the research and translate it into practical ideas for how to achieve physical and emotional therapeutic benefits from a healing and therapeutic garden and how they can be implemented at a range of scales and spaces and non-traditional places such as correctional institutions, psychiatric hospitals, and juvenile detention facilities. A reflective portion of the workshop will also invite attendees to brainstorm on ways to create innovative, inclusive, and welcoming outdoor spaces that improve individual and community health and wellbeing for marginalized populations with whom they work.

Amy Wagenfeld, Lecturer in the Boston University Occupational Therapy Program and Principal of design +cOnsulTation

Daniel Winterbottom, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington

Naomi Sachs, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland

3:00pm to 4:00pm

Urban Wood Project: Baltimore

The Urban Wood Project: Baltimore is a project that links 3Rs: reclaiming materials, reclaiming lives, reclaiming communities. The project combines social enterprise activities with the deconstruction of vacant homes (deconstruct) and urban wood operations (freshcut) to produce human centered design. In this case, human centered design addresses both the production and products of urban wood. There are several key components to this project. Keeping urban wood out of landfills. Urban wood constitutes 17% of all municipal waste, with nearly as much urban wood going into landfills as is harvested from US National Forests per year. This issue can be addressed while tackling historic and current systems of institutionalized racism. In Baltimore’s most highly segregated neighborhoods, the rate of recidivism is 48% and building vacancy can be as high as 45%. These are also areas of concentrated crime and poverty. The need for US-based industries using sustainably produced US materials. Room & Board is a nationally recognized retail business, bringing beautifully crafted furniture and interior accessories to locations throughout the US. Ultimately, this project combines and builds social and ecological infrastructure from non-profit, government, and private sectors that addresses sustainability, equity, and resilience for cities throughout the United States.

In this panel, we will discuss the different components of this prototype, how they synergistically connect, and the prospects for local implementation at a national scale.

Morgan Grove, PhD '96 PhD, USDA Forest Service's Baltimore Urban Field Station and Yale University

Team Leader and Lecturer

Jeff Carroll, Co-founder and Principal at Urban Wood Economy

Steve Freeman, Vendor Resource Manager at Room & Board

4:15pm to 5:15pm

An Unlikely Partnership: Balancing Security with Therapeutic Landscape Benefits in a Correctional Setting

Leah, an incarcerated woman, was instrumental in building the Healing Garden outside the mental health units. Prior to joining the landscape crew, she was frequently in trouble for fighting with other women. Now when trouble loomed, Leah chose to focus her energy in the garden stating, “the old me would have gotten into a fight, but I love the gardens, they make me calm and I want to stay on the crew so I’m not going to make a bad decision.”

Leah’s decision to avoid confrontation by gardening suggests that the prison gardens positively impact the women who work to create and maintain them. Research demonstrates that contact with nature provides people with therapeutic benefits and improved physical, emotional, social, and behavioral health. For those who are incarcerated, this improved health may contribute to reduced recidivism.

One barrier to creating nature spaces and gardens in prisons is the perception, primarily from correctional staff, that security cannot be maintained when altering the physical environment. The presenters, a landscape architect/university professor and prison warden, balanced such concerns with a desire to create healing landscapes through an authentic partnership grounded in a real-world collaborative design-build process. In this session, we explore the concerns and ways to balance prison security while creating therapeutic prison landscapes and question whether ensuring safety requires perpetuating institutional-like spaces, void of direct connections with nature. We argue that the benefits of therapeutic landscapes in prisons outweigh potential risks and that prison-based therapeutic landscapes can adhere to evidence-based therapeutic landscape principles, while simultaneously addressing institutional security concerns.

Julie Stevens, Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University

Patti Wachtendorf Lund, Former Warden of the Iowa State Penitentiary

3:00pm to 4:00pm

Perspectives on Prison Gardens, Agriculture and Food Justice

Food as Resistance: Food Justice, Urban Agriculture, and Prison Abolition

Kanav Kathuria, Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellow and Founder of the Farm to Prison Project; Antoin Quarles El, Founder of HOPE Baltimore

Greening the Cage: Green Racial Capitalism and Moments of Resistance in the (Un)Sustainable Prison Garden

Evan Hazlett, Research & Advocacy Manager at Berkeley Food Network

Prison Agriculture in the United States: An Investigation of an Uneven Practice

Josh Sbicca, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado State University; Carrie Chennault, Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University
4:15pm to 5:15pm

Aquaponics in Corrections

The presentation is about the Herbs Behind Bars program as well as the development of aquaponics with a small challenge we call “One salad a week”. This project is working towards three simple goals:

  1. Feed people – provide good food to offenders and staff that is healthy and clean.
  2. Save Money – producing our own food reduces the cost of the prisons to the taxpayers, not only with food costs but with medical costs as well.
  3. Change Lives – provide job skills and training for new tech that gives offenders jobs in horticulture as well as job skills they can use upon release, as well as, a source for therapy.

We started an urban farming project to meet the challenge we created for ourselves and it began to expand rapidly. We started our program to prove that a hydroponic and aquaponic production system can be run, not only inside the walls of prison but to show that it can run in one of the buildings as well as provide enough produce to offset the cost of the development of the system. Windham School District has now created an urban farming program as well as the Aquaponics Association as formally agreed to assist prisons in wanting to use this tech within their agencies.

Michael (Mac) McLeon, Vocational Instructor for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Michael Unit in Anderson County, Texas

3:00pm to 5:15pm

Tuesday, April 6

3:00pm to 4:00pm

Security to Sustainability

In 2016, Maine State Prison initiated a Master Gardening Volunteer program at a maximum-security correctional facility, this has certified 30 inmates as Master Gardeners. We have successfully expanded a limited greenhouse operation to over 2.5 acres of vegetable production, which is consumed onsite and shared with food pantries. Additional sustainability programming includes five working bee hives, food waste composting and collaborative research projects on production methods with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The success of this programming has depended on strategic partnerships with the Cooperative Extension and State agencies to support experiential educational opportunities, as well as local donations to augment production. 

In this workshop, we will first explore the challenges and successes of our work in an interactive presentation. We will facilitate a round table discussion considering: how to support other state DOCs to replicate and integrate this successful model using evidence-based practices. For the community to benefit from sustainability programming inside correctional facilities, the largest hurdle to overcome is correctional staff’s perception of “security and risk”. Without staff support, the cornerstone of successful correctional programming, there would be no links to explore. We will also explore ways to forge and strengthen interagency and private partnerships, which create pathways for civilians to incorporate expertise into positive DOC staffing opportunities. This workshop will facilitate the recording and distribution of key group takeaways to support the success of similar programming while connecting participants to enable further collaboration and resource sharing.

Rebekah Mende, Vocational Trades Instructor at Maine State Prison

Patrick Connor, Sustainability and Agriculture Program & Habitat for Humanity project manager at the Maine Department of Corrections

4:15pm to 5:15pm

Correctional Conservation Collaborative: An Effort Aimed at Reducing Recidivism While Increasing Pennsylvania’s Capacity to Meet its Environmental Goals

The tree care and forestry industries are currently experiencing a need for workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be 30,000 job openings over the next 5 years in the tree care industry alone. There is concern from the industry that there are not enough workers to meet this demand. Similarly, across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, there is a demand for workers to carry out riparian forest buffer maintenance. In response to federal water quality mandates, Pennsylvania has established the goal to plant 86,000+ new acres of riparian forest buffers by 2025 to help mitigate runoff pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. Non-profits and government agencies who are looking for contractors to plant and maintain riparian forest buffers are noticing a limited number of companies conducting such work.

In response to these demands, the Correctional Conservation Collaborative (CCC) was born. The CCC, orchestrated by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), partners with PA Department of Corrections, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Penn State Cooperative Extension, among many other partners to bring educational and vocational training to incarcerated individuals nearing release at PA State Correctional Institutions (SCI). Piloted in 2017 as solely an arboriculture vocational training, the CCC has since grown to include programming and workshops on plant propagation, biochar, chainsaw safety, timber harvesting, and riparian forest buffers.  The CCC aims to provide employable skills to individuals nearing release, create a workforce pipeline for the conservation and natural resources fields, diversify and elevate the tree care industry, reduce recidivism by way of getting reentrants into good-paying jobs as well as indirectly provide rehabilitation through nature interaction. Join this session to learn about this effort from its conception to lessons learned and hear from CCC program graduates who are now working in the industry.

Shea Zwerver, Founder of the Correctional Conservation Collaboration

Greggory Vinson Clegg, Tree Climber

3:00pm to 4:00pm

On Being Human: Strengthening Protective Factors Through the Design and Use of Therapeutic Landscapes in Prisons

Envision a prison landscape with a yard that features an Aspen trail, prairie gardens, and open-air meeting spaces, perfect for small and large gatherings. And, a healing garden specially designed for women in the mental health units. And, a visiting room garden where incarcerated mothers and their children play together. And, production gardens growing throughout the campus. This is the natural landscape at an Iowa prison. What is more exciting is that this landscape was designed and built by incarcerated women, in collaboration with a university-based landscape architect and her students.

Research is clear that passive and active interaction with nature improves physical, mental/emotional, social, and behavioral health. A small subset of this literature demonstrates that such outcomes hold true for incarcerated individuals who participate in gardening, horticultural, and environmental sustainability programs and interact with simulated natural environments. Research conducted at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women finds that interaction with the landscape, without the use of formal programs, leads to similar positive outcomes.

There is reason to believe that passive and active engagement with natural landscapes may contribute to reduced recidivism. This presentation presents the empirical findings from three prison-based studies and situates them within the risk and protective factors associated with recidivism. The presentation also introduces the ways in which engaging incarcerated women in the design process has the potential to minimize risk and enhance protective factors as a means to support overall health and contribute to relationship re/building with family, staff, and other incarcerated women.

Julie Stevens, Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University

Amy Wagenfeld, Lecturer in the Boston University Occupational Therapy Program and Principal of design +cOnsulTation

Barb Toews, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at University of Washington Tacoma

4:15pm to 5:15pm

Plant Selection and Landscape Design in Prisons and Jails

Re-Connection Through the Garden, Healing Inside the Walls

Daniel Winterbottom, Landscape Architect and Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Washington

Selecting Plants for Prison and Jail Gardens

Tony Hall, Garden Educator at the Franklin County Jail
2:00pm to 3:30pm

Workshop on Designing Local Food Programs in Jails & Prisons

Are you wondering how to integrate food production, increased nutrition, vocational training, college credit, and therapeutic opportunities inside correctional facilities? This session explores the design of the Jail-to-Farm-to-College an Employment Program at the Franklin County House of Corrections in Greenfield, Massachusetts. This whole systems case study serves as a model that can be adapted to respond to the goals, opportunities, and constraints of other correctional facilities and their strategic community partners.

Through the lens of social permaculture design, we will explore the following approaches within correctional facilities that can lead to reduced recidivism: food production programs; farm/food systems college courses; family programs with local food; food produced on-site incorporated into meals served; procurement of affordable, local food; partnerships with local farms and food businesses for post-release internship and employment opportunities.  Session participants will have time to articulate goals for their own community, and then apply social permaculture frameworks to identify resources, constraints, and concrete next steps for creating or expanding local food programs within carceral settings.

Abrah Dresdale, Faculty for Sustainable Food and Farming Program at University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Omega Institute

3:45pm to 5:45pm

Workshop on Next Steps

Despite the distance separating us, this conference has been a powerful experience that brought people together across different disciplines, programs and practices. We’d like to use this session to reflect on possible next steps and what could emerge from this conference, to strengthen our local work and grow a community of practice.  Participants will breakout in groups with guided reflection and discussion on learnings from the conference, in addition to needs, opportunities, and strategies for advancing the field. 

Matt DelSesto

Kelli Bush, Co-Director of the Sustainability in Prisons Project

Daniela Jauk, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Akron, Ohio

William Jett, Fleet Manager at GrowNYC

Christine Norton, Professor of Social Work at Texas State University

Erika Rumbley, Co-founder and Director of The New Garden Society

Amanda Berger, Co-Director, Insight Garden Program