Los Angeles County
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department runs one of the largest jail systems in the world (http://shq.lasdnews.net/pages/PageDetail.aspx?id=1716), and detains more inmates than the entire state of Washington. The SPP-model programs are concentrated at Pitchess Detention Center, a complex of four jails that house nearly 10,000 incarcerated men.
Historically, Pitchess was called the Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho, and served as a minimum-security farm. The “rancho” portion of operations shut down two decades ago and laid dormant for some time. Current jail staff have started to reinvigorate the farm, and the facility now hosts a thriving horticulture program. The Five Keys farm teacher provides classroom instruction to classes of 20 students, and graduates put their education to practice in the onsite fields. They grow several acres of vegetables for the jail kitchen. They raise bees and chickens. Everyone involved—instructor, students, technicians, and staff—are passionate about the farm’s success. With the help of an outside consultant, they are drafting a plan to grow the farm to 100+ acres within 3-5 years, and irrigate it all with a low-flow system.
A developing partnership with LA Community Garden Council will provide opportunities for newly released inmates who participated in the horticulture program. The council will recruit the former inmates to paid positions teaching low income community gardening. This program intends to help former inmates transition to permanent farm/garden related jobs, such as farmers markets, local produce food trucks, teaching, and urban garden maintenance. Eventually, they wish to create an incubator farm for urban farming or farmer’s market enterprises.
County Sheriff’s Office develops sustainable operations plans in collaboration with multiple agencies Los Angeles County, and facilitated by Public Works. Their combined efforts are called Clean LA. The Sheriff’s Office contributed to the Roadmap to a Sustainable Waste Management Future, adopted in the fall of 2014. The guiding principle of the Roadmap is a New Waste Management Paradigm, which turns traditional waste management on its head.