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Making Jails Productive

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1991
5 pages
The Jail Industries Initiative, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Institute of Corrections, has spawned many innovative correctional programs that put prisoners to work to help defray the cost of their incarceration and reduce the potential for violence within prisons.
To stimulate interest in as many jurisdictions as possible, NIJ adopted a broad definition of jail industry meaning one which uses inmate labor, creates a product or provides a service, has value for the public or a private client, and offers the inmate some form of compensation. The common goals for jail industry programs are to develop inmate work habits and skills, generate revenues, reduce inmate idleness, and meet community needs. Inmates work for wages, good time credit, and early release. This article concludes that the benefits to inmates and their families, taxpayers, and the jails themselves outweigh any difficulties that must be surmounted in establishing this type of program.

Date Published: January 1, 1991