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Science in Prisons


“The Initiative to bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated” was established in 2014 to bring science lectures, conservation projects, and nature imagery to people who are incarcerated in Utah and other corrections facilities. This program grew from the Sustainability in Prisons Program, which Nalini co-founded in Washington State in 2003.

INSPIRE is based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah, and collaborates with the Utah State Prison, the Salt Lake County Jail, and five juvenile detention centers. We provide monthly science lectures by University of Utah faculty and graduate students, conservation projects in which inmates participate as partners, and nature imagery to inmates in secured housing.

Providing nature videos to men in cellblocks of secured housing (solitary confinement) at a Supermax prison in Oregon reduced violent infractions by 26%. This approach was recognized by TIME Magazine as “One of the Best Inventions of 2014.”

Funding to provide science in prisons and other facilities comes from the National Science Foundation (DEB-1141833 and DRL-1204448), private donations, and in-kind support from program partners.



Nature Imagery