Nalini Nadkarni with Sustainability in Prisons Project at Evergreen State College
Nalini created a science lecture series and lab to produce sustainable operations, education, scientific research, and conservation. This includes organic gardens, bee keeping, water catching, composting, recycling, raising butterflies, prairie plant restoration, etc.
This program allows students to develop science skills, collaboration skills, and critical thinking.
She also took views of nature to supermax prisons by creating large installations.
Below is her TED Talk.
George Lombardi with Missouri Department of Corrections
George is the director of MDOC. Prison, he said, is like a small city and has the same operational needs. He reminded us that when bringing interns into the prison that every major has a role in the facility.
He also suggested that staff are offered the same opportunities, for he sees staff struggling with their own education or their children’s education.
George has observed that having colleges and educational programs in MDOC change the environment in a positive way.
He is an advocate for an dog training program to save dogs that face euthanization. This program connects the city to the prison which makes the community see prisoners as something other than what is on tv. It also shows that the people in this program can give something back to the community. Many of the staff and community members later adopt the trained dogs. Participants in this program keep a journal of their experience that is then transferred to the adoptive parents to be able to know their dog better.
A unique aspect of George’s program policies is that all prisoners have access to programming. He believes that limiting programming based on the length of the sentence does not treat the person.
Jody Lewen with Prison University Project
Jody joins correctional officer organizations and goes to their conventions to incorporate their worldview into their program’s training to better describe officers and how to work well within the prison environment.
She stated that officers are often vilified and demonized by outside volunteers. We need to listen and hear their concerns; provide eye contact, be aware of your body language, say hello, and reach out to staff as individuals and their professional organizations. Have conversations about education in prison with them.
Sean Pica with Hudson Link for Higher Education, Inc.
I wasn’t able to take notes during Sean’s presentation, but check out their program! You can also watch some videos about their work on their vimeo channel.