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The Effect of Prison Industry on Recidivism: An Evaluation of California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA)

NCJ Number
Date Published
40 pages

This study finds that participation in the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) is associated with reduced offending overall.


This study reporting on measures of recidivism found that participation in the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) is associated with reduced offending overall.  The study evaluates data on rearrest, reconviction and reincarceration during one-, two- and three-years post–prison release. It also examine participation in Career Technical Education (CTE). CALPIA individuals had lower rates of arrests, convictions and incarcerations during a three-year follow-up than a Waitlist comparison group. Although the sample size for our analysis of CTE was small, participation in this CALPIA program yields lower recidivism rates than other CALPIA program participation. For female individuals, observed differences for CALPIA and Waitlist individuals were significant, however, no differences remained significant between groups after matching was performed. CALPIA is a self-supporting training and production program currently operating within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). CALPIA provides training, certification, and employment to inmates in a variety of different fields. The goods and services produced by CALPIA are sold to the state and other government entities, providing an economic benefit to the state. One of CALPIA’s missions is to reduce the subsequent recidivism of their inmate participants. This research examines the effect of participation in CALPIA on the recidivism of CDCR inmates released into the community.  Unlike prior recidivism reports on CALPIA, this study compares CALPIA participants with at least 6 months in the program and released between August 2014 and July 2018 with incarcerated individuals accepted into CALPIA but released before they could actively participate. To further confidence that any program effects are due to the program, the authors utilize a propensity score matching (PSM) technique to statistically match CALPIA and Waitlist individuals in order to control for the differences in background characteristics.

Date Published: January 1, 2021