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Private Sector Boom: Expanded Correctional Industry Opportunities

NCJ Number
Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: March 1998 Pages: 52-54
R Miller; G S Ingley
Date Published
3 pages
The business boom in the private sector has created new opportunities for correctional industries, and many of the 3,200 local jails in the United States have developed correctional industry programs.
At the end of 1996, 82,315 inmates at local and State levels and more than 17,000 inmates at the Federal level were employed in traditional correctional industries. As of June 1997, 2,399 inmates were involved in certified private sector industry programs in 35 States. These programs operate under the federally administered Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) program. The PIE program allows private industries to establish joint ventures with public agencies to produce goods and services using prison labor. PIE program criteria stipulate inmates must be paid at a rate that is not less than that paid for similar work in the locality, inmates must not displace private sector workers, worker compensation benefits must be available to inmate workers, victim assistance contributions must be between 5 and 20 percent of gross wages, and organized labor and local private industries must be consulted before program start-up. In the 18 years since PIE projects were first authorized, over $23 million has been collected from inmate worker wages for room and board, victim assistance, family support, and taxes. In the 12-month period ending June 1997, wages paid to PIE-certified inmate workers totaled $66,943,176, from which $30,777,125 was deducted. The formation of the PIE program and program benefits are discussed, and allowable wage deductions are noted. 1 table and 1 photograph