Each year, The Lands Council must maintain multiple restoration sites throughout the Spokane region. This has become a challenge because we have more trees planted than we’re able to water. To help with this work, Green Sleeves engages incarcerated offenders while they are paying their debt to society – enhancing our restoration capacity while also engaging offenders in meaningful environmental projects.
Green Sleeves offers a multi-faceted approach to improving our restoration efforts while also improving offender rehabilitation and combating recidivism. First, classes in green jobs and environmental literacy are taught by trained Lands Council staff members, using the Roots of Success curriculum which is specifically designed for incarcerated populations. Second, offenders care for a native plant nursery on-site, which means we are able to plant trees with mature root systems while also providing a form of nature therapy. Third, offenders join Lands Council staff in the field to plant and maintain stream-side and urban forest areas.
Offenders who participate are often connected with criminal-record friendly employers. Also, post-incarceration habits are tracked to see how many participants are more likely to plant a garden, seek new education, seek environmental employment, and more.