Wilderness Work for Prisoners

Minimum-security inmates serve their time working in the Cascade Mountains

| March-April 2000

The Oregon Department of Corrections is using the wilderness to help inmates and inmates to help the wilderness, notes Women in Natural Resources (Summer 1999). Using a mobile prison camp, corrections officials last summer transported 85 minimum-security inmates to the Cascade Mountains for eight weeks of pulling noxious weeds, clearing brush, and stacking wood. The project, besides providing free labor for a labor-intensive operation, offers prisoners opportunities to learn forestry skills. Twenty-five inmates who were trained to use chain saws subsequently became certified sawyers. Hacksaw training apparently was not offered.