WHAT WE DO 

The Multnomah County Sustainable Jail Project paves the way toward truly sustainable jail operations. From energy retrofits in our laundry facility to composting food waste in our kitchens to supporting local farms by purchasing local foods, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is saving money and the planet.

Multnomah County’s jails are like mini-cities that run 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and care for an average of 1,200 inmates each day. As a result, jails are large consumers of energy, water, and supplies and produce a lot of waste. The goal is to reduce the cost of operating the jails, be good stewards of natural resources, and provide social and economic benefits to all members of the community, including incarcerated men and women.

The Sustainable Jail Project focuses on four key areas:

Energy & Water 

Energy and water utility costs are a major expense in jail operations, and jails are the largest consumers of energy and water in Multnomah County. Investments in water and energy conservation not only save money, but help mitigate against future energy cost increases. By prioritizing cost saving efficiency projects the Sheriff’s Office also helps to protect the environment while providing a critical community service. read more...

Waste

Multnomah County jails provide housing, health care and mental health services to 1,200 inmates a day, and the kitchens prepare nearly 1.5 million meals each year. As a result, jail facilities are responsible for a third of total waste generated by Multnomah County government operations. Aggressive recycling and composting programs have been implemented. In an effort to further reduce the environmental and fiscal impacts of waste generation, the Sheriff’s Office has looked at its supply chain and operations to find opportunities to prevent waste through the use of durable supplies and other means. read more...

Equity

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office defines social equity in the jails as targeting programs that will reduce recidivism rates. Inmate Programs does this by assessing and addressing criminogenic needs most attributed to criminal behavior. Offenders incarcerated in MCSO jail facilities receive services and programs that meet these needs, through groups, classes, skills training and access to resources. read more...

Sustainable Purchasing 

As a large institutional purchaser, Multnomah County jails buy a significant amount of supplies and have the ability to influence markets with their purchasing power. The Sheriff’s Office goal is to support the local economy and reduce the environmental impact of excess packaging and toxins. read more...