Correctional Industries: Who Gets Hired and Other Issues of Full Employment?

Kimberly S. Craig, National Correctional Industries Assn.
Cindy J. Smith, University of Baltimore

In 2001, over 1.1 million inmates were housed in state prisons in the United States. Only a fraction of these inmates, approximately 4,000 Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program workers and 59,000 traditional Correctional Industry workers, obtained job skills through industry work experience while incarcerated. Some policy makers are interested in a full employment model for correction populations, which requires substantial increases in the number of inmates employed. If more industry moved into prisons, is there a sufficient workforce available? Who is eligible to work? Who gets hired? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the demographic and legal descriptors of inmate populations compared to the characteristics of those inmates actually employed. This comparison is based on data collected across five states spanning a five-year period and is part of a national evaluation of the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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Updated 05/20/2006