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How a Jail Is Making a Green City Greener: The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Sustainable Jail Project

NCJ Number
Steve Alexander
Date Published
8 pages
This short paper examines the Sustainable Jail Project at Multnomah County's (Oregon) two jails.
In April 2012, the Multnomah County (Oregon) Sheriff's Department instituted the Sustainable Jail Project at the county's two jails: the Multnomah County Detention Center and the Multnomah County Inverness Jail. The intent of the Sustainable Jail Project is to find new ways to increase cost efficiencies and decrease the environmental footprint of the county's two jails. This paper details the development of the framework for the project and highlights its early successes. The project's has identified eight specific goals: 1) set the standard for sustainability in county jails; 2) increase sustainability education, outreach, and employee awareness in the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office; 3) reduce factors leading to recidivism by connecting inmates to sustainability; 4) reduce energy use; 5) reduce water use; 6) reduce generation of solid waste and increase recycling efforts; 7) support the local food system; and 8) reduce use of toxic materials. The core objectives of the project are to encourage the development of sustainable ideas, provide training and education to staff and inmates, establish and promote annual goals, provide a central hub of sustainability knowledge within the department, establish partnerships with other government agencies and educational entities, and measure and report the achievements to ensure continued success with the project. The paper examines the laundry facility at the Inverness Jail to highlight an area of jail expenditures that would benefit from the sustainability project.