Private Industry Behind Bars: Does Work Work?

Cindy J. Smith, University of Baltimore

The Bureau of Justice Assistance and is responsible for monitoring the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP). The PIECP includes a private sector company that hires inmates to work for them at the prevailing wage (e.g., minimum wage or above). The work ranges from labor intensive routine tasks (i.e., assembly line) to highly skilled craftsmanship (i.e., sheet metal welding). PIECP has been operational since 1979, yet no evaluation has been conducted. Among many reasons, the program has continued to be funded because it is hypothesized that joint venture industries between inmates/Department of Corrections and the private sector is a promising type of re-entry preparedness. However, there is little empirical data to support or refute this belief. This poster session will present preliminary results of a national study.

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Updated 05/20/2006