The Illinois Department of Corrections is touting its Sustainability Initiative, which deputy director of projects Jen Aholt says is a leader in state government. It goes beyond conserving on lights and water. She says the idea is not only to save money and save the environment, but in the prison system’s case, to prepare inmates for their return to society.

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“Our sustainable gardening will help with the Food Farms Jobs Act when that becomes a little more of a direction we must take, but it will allow offenders, once they leave, to possibly become small farmers or entrepreneurs.” The facility at Vandalia has an 18-acre garden, Aholt says, while Menard turns vegetable oil into biofuel.


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