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Expanding Prison Industries Through Privatization (From Privatization and the Provision of Correctional Services: Context and Consequences, P 125-131, 1996, G. Larry Mays and Tara Gray, eds. - See NCJ-167497)

NCJ Number
J F Meyer; T Gray
Date Published
7 pages
This article examines the personally rewarding aspects of prison industries and prison labor for profit.
Strong business and labor opposition to prison industries in the United States is rooted at least in part in the principle of lesser eligibility. According to this legal and moral principle, prisoners should be considered less worthy of satisfactory employment and training than the worst paid noncriminal. This would seem to be reason enough to restrict or eliminate prison industries. However, prison industries offer advantages as well: they can reduce inmate idleness, recidivism, and prison costs. Expanding prison industries can help solve the problems of unemployment and underemployment. Historically, however, prison industry expansion has occurred only when the private sector was involved. If prison industry is to reduce inmate idleness on a large scale, both public and private industries should be expanded. Studies have found that inmates who participated in prison industries were more likely to find post-release employment and were less likely to return to criminal habits. Prisoners' incomes are taxable and prisoners must contribute from their earnings toward room and board, thus saving money for taxpayers and for the specific correctional institution. Notes