To establish employment opportunities for prisoners that approximate private sector work opportunities. The program is designed to place offenders in a realistic working environment, pay them the local prevailing wage for similar work, and enable them to acquire marketable skills to increase their potential for successful rehabilitation and meaningful employment upon release.
Companies are attracted to working with prisons because offenders represent a readily available and dependable source of entry-level labor that is a cost-effective alternative to work forces found in Mexico, the Caribbean Basin, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Rim countries. "Domestic content is an important benefit of using a prison-based work force compared with using an offshore labor market," says one industry executive. He went on to say, "We can put a Made-in-the-U.S.A. label on our product. In fact, our sales staff told us that the retention of these jobs in the United States influenced purchasing agents at two large organizations to buy our product rather than a competitor's whose product is made offshore. Keeping the jobs in the country helped line workers in our other plants accept the idea of a prison-based work force."
Joint ventures provide meaningful, productive employment that helps to reduce offender idleness, considered to be a common cause of prisoner disruptions. Correctional administrators also indicate that the existence of private sector jobs can be used to motivate positive behavior and good work habits on the part of the offenders throughout the prison. The offender who realizes that an initial assignment in the kitchen might some day lead to a higher paying job in a plant is more likely to work hard and stay out of trouble in order to get that better job tomorrow.
The general public, too, tends to endorse productive employment for offenders when they are assured that prison-based jobs will not displace law-abiding citizens.
If your company is interested in learning more about this program, contact Justin Farris at 1-800-522-3565, or e-mail OCI Customer Service
In 1979, Congress enacted Public Law 96-157 (Codified at 18 U.S.C. 1761 (c) and 41 U.S.C. 35) which created the Private Sector/Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PS/PIECP). The program authorizes correctional agencies to engage in the interstate shipment of prison-made goods for private business use if: