Making sense of ‘green care’ in prisons

Gary Veale1, Abigail Wild2
1University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

In recent years, ‘green criminology’ has expanded to include work on ‘green prisons’ and ‘green care.’  The ‘greening’ of the justice system has received growing attention around the world, an imperative driven by potential cost savings and the purported benefits of nature connectivity. This conference contribution speaks to the emerging literature of ‘green care’ in prison, drawing on concepts of biophilia, nature connectivity, and human performance to provide a fuller consideration of the human relationship with nature in the context of prisons. Our paper seeks to place individual programs (e.g., animal assistance, prison gardens, agricultural work), architectural and environmental features into a more cohesive conceptual framework of people’s interactions with nature. Referencing research into everyday nature experiences – in an increasingly urbanised, technologically mediated world –  this paper considers how correctional decision-makers might prioritise certain initiatives and how practitioners might make such initiatives more effective. We present a new transdisciplinary sense-making framework for the human relationship with nature – the Tembo device – to guide practitioners and academics involved in decision-making concerning institutional, staff and prisoner priorities based on practical, evidence-based insights

Gary Veale is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne (School of Ecosystem & Forestry Science) and former Director with KPMG. His PhD and research is focused on the role of nature in unlocking human potential, the realities of people’s everyday nature experiences, new frameworks for making sense of the human relationship with nature, and corporate nature responses. Gary is the founder of ‘Geri’ and ‘The Nature of’, and splits his time between these ventures.

Abigail Wild is a doctoral researcher at Cambridge University (UK), living in Melbourne, and completing a thesis about faith-based prison units in the United States. In addition to academic work, she is a member of StartUp Vic and serves on the board of Sun Strategies, a venture capital fund.


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