In FY2012, Jacksonville Correctional Center and its two satellite facilities, Pittsfield Work Camp and Greene County Impact Incarceration Program, formed a cross-functional sustainability committee to explore modifications that could be made to transform its environmental impact. The facilities chose to stop being a mere consumer of scarce resources and become instead a producer of its own subsistence. Since FY2012, the facilities have experienced great success and realized tremendous savings by implementing a number of green policies and initiatives.
A baler is now online at both Jacksonville Correctional Center and Pittsfield Work Camp. With these two balers, the recycling capacity now equals that of other institutions that have been recycling far longer. As the recycling program grows and matures, recyclable waste will be consolidated from all three facilities in the Jacksonville family, developing partnerships with community businesses and municipalities to process their waste and reducing non-recyclable waste collection from six times each week to just three times a month. With the help of Illinois Correctional Industries, the Jacksonville facilities also plan to expand its offender workforce to as many as 25 Earned Good Conduct Credit-qualified offenders to staff its recycling operations. These offenders will learn valuable work skills to use in the rapidly growing green economy when their period of incarceration is finished.
Jacksonville Correctional Center is also in discussions with IDOC central staff to renegotiate its waste collection contracts. Currently, the waste generated by all three facilities is collected six times a week. With the inauguration of its recycling program, the center expects to reduce waste collections to just three times a month.
To manage its gardens, the center has reached an unprecedented level of coordination and cooperation; not just between the three local facilities at Jacksonville, but with other facilities in the IDOC system. Garden managers at each of the three local centers – Jacksonville Correctional Center, Pittsfield Work Camp and Greene County Impact Incarceration Program – place seed orders online for all fruits and vegetables. All seed orders are processed at Menard Correctional Center and distributed to Jacksonville facilities’ gardens.
Based on recent garden production totals, below are projected yield for the next two seasons:
The on-site horticulture program is staffed with a full-time educator, who serves as instructor and guide for all three facilities and continues to be a great resource for staff.
The gardens have proven effective supplements to the dietary needs of the facility. As the program matures, so will the evaluation tools used to measure their continued effectiveness. These tools will allow dietary managers the freedom to order less produce. Conservative estimates project from $6000-8000 in annual food savings. Any food not consumed in the facility will be distributed to local food banks and the Global Outreach Center.
Composting operations are underway at Pittsfield Work Camp and Greene County Impact Incarceration Program. Both facilities utilize traditional composting and have recently expanded to include on-site trench. The compost is used for facility flower and vegetable gardens and has easily reduced waste by 20%. Composting is a crucial piece of the plan to reduce waste cost. It also has helped process aging paper records at all three facilities. Instead of burning or paying for the disposal of records, the facilities will shred and use them for compost.
The committee is currently exploring the possibility of adding wind power plants at Pittsfield Work Camp and Greene County Impact Incarceration Program. The Jacksonville sustainability team is proceeding with a fact-finding study that should be complete by the end of 2014.
All three facilities are participating in Illinois Correctional Industries’ bio-diesel program and converting spent kitchen grease to fuel that helps power the ICI fleet.