Carceral Settings

Roots of Success has developed customized curricula for prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities across the United States. Our program prepares incarcerated individuals for 100+ jobs and career pathways and successful reentry into their communities.

UC Berkeley GSPP Report

Read the 2021 study by UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) on the transformative impact of the Roots of Success program in prisons, entitled “Examining Transformational Change: Roots of Success Environmental Literacy and Work Readiness Program in Carceral Settings.”

One Page Description

Click for a printable one page description of the Roots of Success program for prisons and jails


Click to read our Frequently Asked Questions about Roots of Success in carceral settings

Roots of Success

  • Prepares participants for post-secondary education and green careers upon release
  • Inspires participants to engage in sustainability projects while in prison
  • Empowers participants to reduce waste and increase energy conservation
  • Results in facility cost savings and reduced carbon footprint
  • Promotes positive behavioral change, increased confidence, and leadership development
  • Fosters teamwork and collaboration
  • Reduces conflict and violence



Key Features

  • Easy and affordable to implement
  • Multimedia, activity-based curriculum is designed to immediately engage participants
  • Taught by incarcerated instructors trained and certified to teach and mentor their peers
  • Familiarizes participants with 125+ green jobs and career pathways
  • Graduates receive a Certificate
  • Increases professional knowledge and skills
  • Increases financial literacy and social entrepreneurship skills
  • Teaching/taking ROS classes viewed positively by Board members in resentencing and clemency hearings



“Women enter these walls with shattered lives and scattered focus. Roots of Success has proven to be instrumental in providing a compass, guiding students as they discover a healthy and sustainable direction for the future. Women graduate with an eagerness to participate in their own lives. Roots of Success gives beyond, to a place where they can reach out and rejoin their community on a pro-social, eco-forward, career pathway.”

– Lori Moseley, Instructor; Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility



“Roots of Success puts into perspective how our relationship with the environment could not only ignite change for the planet, but it ignites change for the better in all of us behind bars. This program was therapeutic to me and my colleagues because it got us to think and hope for our days to come outside of prisons. It helped us understand how we could be the solution for problems regarding climate change, corruption, as well as the devastation of ecosystems.”

–Daniel Carter, ROS Student

Roots of Success empowers participants to reduce waste, increase energy conservation, and engage in sustainability projects while in prison, resulting in facility cost savings and reduced carbon footprint

What Students Say:


of graduates in correctional facilities were motivated to conserve resources and engage in sustainability projects

Institutions Report:

  • On average, $90,000 reduction in annual trash bills in multiple facilities
  • On average, 60% decrease in electrical usage over 3 years at 9 facilities
  • 12,000 pound reduction in food waste per week at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

The Roots of Success curriculum meets the American Correctional Association’s “Sustainability Standard” recognizing strategies that promote environmental responsibility in prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities. 

“The facility/agency shall demonstrate they have examed within the audit cycle and where appropriate and feasible, implemented strategies that promote recycling, energy and water conservation, pollution reduction and utilization of renewable energy alternatives.”

The curriculum meets’s guideline requirements for staff and inmate training and results in improved staff and inmate engagement in all other sustainability programs/initiatives. 

“The American Correctional Association fully supports the appropriate short- and long-term cost-effective facilities and materials management strategies that are resource efficient and environmentally responsible. Therefore, public and private agencies at the federal, state and local levels should promote and engage in: (1) Recycling, (2) Composting and gardens, (3) Conserving energy, (4) LEED standards, (5) Renewable energy, (6) Conserving water, (7) Training for staff, and (8) Training for offenders.” 


Roots of Success transforms facility culture and improves behavior.

Roots of Success was the core component that tied together our cultural change in environmental awareness. We had begun recycling and composting. We addressed energy and water conservation, but I knew we needed education to really reach the inmates. Roots of Success took our green initiatives to a new level; it led the change that allowed inmates to be part of the environmental awareness at SCC (Southeastern Correctional Complex). The passion I saw from the inmates was amazing.


Southeastern Correctional Complex, Ohio Department of Corrections

Engaging inmates in meaningful activities and giving them opportunities to contribute reduces violence and makes prisons safer for both inmates and staff.


Washington Department of Corrections


Roots of Success empowers and inspires participants.

As my colleagues and I prepare to teach another Roots of Success class, we are not only bringing a new world to our students but are introducing them to the world; a world they never knew existed, by exposing them to concepts that were previously foreign to the vast majority of them. It is not that they do not have the aptitude or attitude to learn, but have been denied the opportunities. 

Cyril Walrond

Instructor, Stafford Creek Correctional Center

The students that have experienced the Roots of Success class have done extremely well in absorbing the material from the modules. They have asked critically thoughtful questions and have engaged in rich discussions that are relative to their lived experiences. Many have expressed to me, as their instructor, that they’re grateful a class like Roots is offered while incarcerated; expressing how it will benefit them as they re-enter their communities. Also, Roots of Success meets the College & Career Indicator credit on student transcripts in order to complete state requirements for High School Diploma.

Lawrence Burdick

Instructor, Five Keys Schools and Programs, Santa Rita Jail

Green Prisons Leaders Across the Country

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections sustainability initiatives include a robust recycling program, a trout farm, and many other environmental programs including Roots of Success. Over the years, the state of Ohio incorporated Roots of Success into most of its 28 institutions and all 3 juvenile facilities had trained instructors to teach Roots of Success.

The state of Washington trained incarcerated men and women to teach Roots of Success at all 12 prisons in the state, including: Airway Heights, Clallam Bay, Coyote Ridge, Larch, Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women, Stafford Creek, Washington Corrections Center for Women, Monroe Correctional Complex, Washington Corrections Center, and Washington State Penitentiary.

The Montgomery County jail in Maryland offers the self-paced online version of Roots of Success.

In New York, high school students incarcerated on Rikers Island went through Roots of Success as part of their science and social science classes and youth enrolled in the ABLE program went through Roots of Success and a CBT program, after which time their sentences were significantly reduced.


How it Works



Get Trained to Teach the Curriculum

One-day training that introduces instructors to our unique teaching approach and materials.

Order Books for Your Program

Provide students with all of the vocabulary terms, exercises, activities, and materials they need for the course

Start Teaching Roos of Success

Instructors are provided with ongoing technical and program support

Provide Graduates with a Certificate

Graduates receive a certificate that is valued by employers across the country.

Schedule a Training

If you are interested in hosting a Roots of Success training for your staff, follow the link to schedule a training today.

Order Books

Click to order Roots of Success Student Workbooks, Green Jobs & Career Pathways Guidebooks, or other materials.

Contact Us

If you are interested in learning more and would like to chat with our staff to discover how Roots of Success can make an impact at your facility, reach out to us via email below.