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Work in American Prisons: Joint Ventures With the Private Sector

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1995
15 pages
Publication Series
This paper describes how companies in South Carolina, California, and Connecticut have formed successful partnerships with State and local correctional agencies to use inmate labor for the manufacture of goods for private firms.
The benefits of such an arrangement include the development of a cost-competitive, motivated work force, which can continue to work after release from prison. Another benefit is the proximity of a prison-based feeder plant to the company's regular facility. Financial incentives include low-cost industrial space and equipment-purchase subsidy offered by corrections officials. Further, the work environment is safe due to the presence of security personnel and a metal detector that keeps weapons out of the shop area. Also, the partial return to society of inmate earnings to pay State and Federal taxes, offset incarceration costs, contribute to the support of inmates' families, and compensate victims are benefits of the corrections industry. Some challenges encountered include absenteeism and rapid turnover of employees, limited opportunities for training, and logistical problems, such as appropriate access for deliveries. Representatives of companies interested in joint-venture arrangements should consider Federal and State laws that regulate the markets; types of permissible business relations; and rights and responsibilities of inmates, staff, and private companies. Other important issues are goals consistent with the mission of the corrections agency, the warden's support, and the qualifications of the joint-venture manager. 2 exhibits

Date Published: November 1, 1995