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Correctional Industries Preparing Inmates for Reentry: Recidivism & Post-release Employment

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2006
87 pages
This report summarizes the first national review of the recidivism and postrelease employment effects of the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP), which has been placing State prison inmates in private-sector jobs since 1979.

The study found that inmates who worked in open-market jobs in PIECP were significantly more successful in obtaining and remaining in postrelease employment than those inmates who worked in traditional correctional industries (TI) or were involved in other than work (OTW) activities while in prison. TI releasees obtained postrelease employment quicker than OTW releasees. PIECP releasees earned significantly more than OTW releasees and were employed significantly more quarters after release than TI and OTW releasees. PIECP releasees had slower and reduced recidivism--measured by arrest, conviction, and incarceration--than did TI and OTW releasees. Given these findings, this report recommends increasing efforts to involve private businesses in the employment of inmates under the PIECP. PIECP programs may be "employer" model establishments, in which private-sector firms are often located inside correctional institutions, manage the PIECP inmate population, and produce goods for sale in open markets. The PIECP "customer" model may also be used. Under this model, departments of correction operate the PIECP production facilities, manage PIECP workers, and deliver products to private firms for sale in open markets. The PIECP may also be a "manpower" model, in which inmates are supervised by a private company but are considered to be employed by the department of correction. This evaluation reviewed outcome records for 3 matched samples (PIECP, TI, and OTW inmates), each composed of approximately 2,200 inmates (a total of 6,464 inmates) released from 46 prisons across 5 PIECP States between 1996 and 2001. 24 tables, 10 figures, and 26 references

Date Published: May 1, 2006