Essential Components

Although corrections institution is unique, our experiences point to Five Essential Components to guide the work of all SPP teams. We consider these components essential because they permeate everything we do. Committing to these essentials maximizes benefits for everyone involved, and creates programs that endure.

Since every collaboration and corrections institution is unique, each application of the Essential Components will vary to reflect particular needs and goals; this approach is as flexible as it is pervasive. For a full version of SPP’s Five Essential Components, look at our one-pager.

  1. Partnerships with multiple benefits
    Seek out partnerships adapted to the needs of your region. Establish a truly collaborative approach in which each contributor—inmates, staff, academics, experts, volunteers, partner organizations—plays an important role and benefits from the effort.
  2. Bringing nature “inside”
    Create opportunities to work with living things. Consider lectures, workshops, conservation programs, gardens, nature photographs, pet programs, house plants, beekeeping—any way you can bring more life inside the fence.
  3. Engagement and education
    Offer science and sustainability education to an underserved audience. Provide green job training and skills development for a variety of employment options. Involve and benefit college students, corrections staff, scientists, and the broader community.
  4. Safe and sustainable operations
    Reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle materials whenever possible. Increase prison safety by providing programs that engage inmates in pro-social activities and give them opportunities to contribute to the community.
  5. Evaluation, dissemination, and tracking
    Provide for goal setting, tracking, evaluation, and a plan for sharing program progress and results as a component of program implementation. Record and share widely your results, success stories, protocols, and media coverage. Ensure appropriate Human Subjects Review for evaluation of impacts on inmate participants.