The Isle of Man Prison is promoting a range of green initiatives as part of broader efforts to make its operations more sustainable.
Schemes focusing on recycling, waste management and energy efficiency are helping to cut running costs and reduce the prison’s impact on the environment.
A Greening Committee, which brings together a number of departments within the prison, has been established to look at ways of increasing environmental awareness and driving new efficiencies.
Significant savings have been achieved in terms of lowering utility bills and further improvements are being targeted based on the results of an energy efficiency assessment.
The involvement of two offenders in a recycling project has led to a fall in waste management costs, while expenditure on food is reduced by the annual production of nearly two tonnes of vegetables in the prison polytunnels.
Building stronger links with the local community is also generating positive results. One of the most productive partnerships of recent years has involved the creation of morsbags, with prisoners at Jurby producing more than 3,000 reusable shopping bags from material donated to Zero Waste Mann.
And another local charity has recently benefitted from the prison’s efforts to reuse and recycle its resources.
More than 50 old mattresses and a quantity of sheets and towels have been provided to the Manx Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Previously these items would have been sent for incineration, but the Prison Greening Committee chose instead to donate them for use as bedding for animals at Ard Jerkyll.
Prison officers Jon Clague and Colleen Cubbon, assisted by inmate Lee Peel, delivered the mattresses to Nikki Davies, kennels manager at the animal sanctuary.
Officer Clague explained: ‘In these times of greater environmental awareness and constraints on budgets the prison is working hard to find ways to operate in a more sustainable manner. It has led to the creation of a Greening Committee, with the aim of developing systems and policies that enable us to reduce our environmental footprint as much as possible. This is being achieved through recycling and more efficient use of our resources which has the added benefit of allowing us to reduce many of our running costs.’
He added: ‘The old mattresses, sheets and towels were no longer required at the prison, but a little sideways thinking allowed us to put them to good use. The MSPCA staff were very enthusiastic about this donation, so it has been a real win-win situation.’
Michael Coleman MLC, Member of the Department of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Prison and Probation Service, said: ‘There is a practical side to this work. Encouraging the involvement of prisoners in these initiatives has an educational benefit and makes a small but important contribution towards their overall rehabilitation. Increased recycling and better waste management also helps to reduce operating costs, which is essential at a time when Home Affairs is seeking to support Government’s budget rebalancing plans.’