U.S. Department of Justice

Correctional Industries Initiative

As indicated by Schmitt & Warner, incarceration may improve an offender’s labor market prospects if the time in prison or jail has a rehabilitative effect and/or leads to the offender receiving additional education or training. In practice, Correctional Industries provides offenders a real-life work experience that helps them develop the skills needed to compete in today’s job market successfully. (Schmitt and Warner, Ex-Offenders and the Labor Market, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, DC, 2010)

The NIC Correctional Industries Initiative serves as a catalyst to provide Industries staff and their stakeholders with the information, expertise, and capacity needed to identify relevant organizational priorities, establish strategic objectives, identify measurable goals and objectives, create partnerships, and respond to the reentry needs of the offender population. Additionally, the practitioners learn to use current labor market information to help them provide offenders with specialized services and programming that support the offender’s long-term attachment to the labor force.

OERS Pilot


  • Correctional Industries Staff
  • Workforce Development Practitioners
  • Corrections Staff


  • Correctional Industries Director’s Training-

    During this training 40 hour blended-training course, Correctional Industries administrators will develop the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to identify relevant organizational priorities, establish strategic objectives, identify measurable goals and objectives, establish collaborative partnerships, utilize current labor market information, and provide specialized services and programming that support the offenders’ long term attachment to the labor force.

  • Workforce Development Regional Training: Enhancing Correctional Industries’ Role in Reentry-

    In this three-day session, participants will learn how to: administer informal assessments, learn strategies for collaborating with stakeholders, and establish a Career Resource Center.

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Recommended Reading

Date Title Type
Document 025293
Correctional Industries: A Working Solution [Satellite/Internet Broadcast]
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC).
Correctional Industry programs contribute to the successful reentry of offenders by providing a structured environment for participants to learn the skills needed to obtain and retain post-release employment. Guided by evidence-based practices, Correctional Industries distinguishes itself by providing services that make an impact in reducing inmate recidivism. See how they make a significant difference in the lives of the offender population they serve and hear from national experts, correctiona... Read More
2 video DVDs (180 minutes)
Document 024764
Ex-Offenders and the Labor Market
By Schmitt, John; Warner, Kris. Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington, DC).
The authors use U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data to show the negative impact of ex-offender unemployment on the U.S. economy. Sections following an executive summary are: introduction; estimating the size of the ex-offender population; the effects of imprisonment and felony conviction on subsequent employment and wages; estimating the impact of the ex-offender population on total employment and output; and conclusion. The unemployment of ex-prisoners resulted in a reduction in employment r... Read More
22 pages
Document 023255
Building Tomorrow's Workforce: An Effective Reentry Strategy [Satellite/Internet Broadcast held August 2008]
National Institute of Corrections Academy (Aurora, CO).
This program focuses on the history and benefits of correctional industries and ways to balance competing interests. Employment is a critical factor in successful reentry. Career assistance, life skills, and job training prior to release from jails or prisons increases the likelihood of success as individuals reenter the community. This, in conjunction with support from employers, social agencies, and faith-based community organizations, provides the foundation for individuals to remain in socie... Read More

2 DVDs (172 min) + 1 CD
Document 021601
Correctional Industries Preparing Inmates for Re-Entry: Recidivism & Post-Release
By Smith, Cindy J.; Bechtel, Jennifer; Patrick, Angie; Smith, Richard R.; Wilson-Gentry, Laura. National Institute of Justice (Washington, DC).
"This report summarizes the first national review of the recidivism and post-release effects of the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) engaging state prison inmates in private sector jobs since 1979" (p. 6). Sections following an executive summary are: abstract; introduction; methods; key findings and discussion regarding how PIECP participation increases post-release employment and reduces recidivism; and policy recommendations.... Read More
86 p.
Document 020364
Correctional Industries Programs for Adult Offenders in Prison: Estimates of Benefits and Costs
By Aos, Steve. Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Olympia, WA).
Results of a cost-benefit analysis of correctional industries programs are provided. Sections of this report are: research methods; research results; benefits and costs; and conclusion. "We find that correctional industries programs for adult offenders in prison can achieve a statistically significant reduction in recidivism rates, and that a reasonably priced program generates about $6.70 in benefits per dollar of cost (p. 2)."... Read More
2 p.
Document 024388
Greening Corrections: People, Programs, and Practices [Satellite/Internet Broadcast held July 14, 2010]
National Institute of Corrections Academy (Aurora, CO).
This program seeks to increase environmental awareness among corrections professionals and focuses attention on the need to make correctional facilities more energy and resource efficient. This broadcast:
  • Explores the feasibility of introducing green collar job readiness training programs
  • Assesses correctional industries capability to adopt “green” practices
  • And identifies strategies to assess cost saving options for correctional agencies to operate “self sustaining” facilities and ... Read More
1 DVD (231 min.)
Document 024019
Innovative Reentry Strategies: The Emerging Role of Correctional Industries [Satellite/Internet Broadcast held October 7, 2009]
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC).
This program focuses on presenting new reentry strategies and highlight specific programs around the country that reflect best practices. Imagine a reentry program that reduces recidivism, changes lives, and makes prisons and jails safer with little or no cost to taxpayers. Such a program has been around for decades. It is correctional industries, an effective model for preparing offenders for employment upon release. The elements of this strategy include skills certification, positive change, c... Read More
2 DVDs (157 min.) + 1 CD
Document 026280
Ohio Penal Industries, November 16, 2011
By Furderer, Darin. Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) (Columbus, OH).
Results from an evaluation of the Ohio Penal Industries (OPI) are presented. Sections of this report include: introduction; key findings; recommendations; OPI overview; OPI challenges; survey of other U.S. correctional industries; and conclusion. “Although OPI can generate revenue for the state and provide numerous opportunities for inmates to acquire knowledge and occupational traits, its potential is hindered due to various challenges, which include restraints placed on its bidding process, ne... Read More
36 pages
Document 020863
Performance Audit of Pennsylvania Correctional Industries of the Department of Corrections
Pennsylvania Dept. of the Auditor General (Harrisburg, PA).
The effectiveness of Pennsylvania Correctional Industries (PCI), a state-run prison business, in planning efforts and managing operations is assessed, while identifying obstacles to mission statement fulfillment and operational efficiency. This audit is comprised of the following sections: results in brief (executive summary); introduction and background; objectives and methodology; seven findings and recommendations; and observation. Appendixes include: results of surveys of potential PCI cus... Read More
63 p.
Document 026896
The Effect of the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program on Labor Market Outcomes of Prison Releasees
By Cox, Robynn.
The impact of the Prison Industry Enhancement Certificate Program (PIE) on the duration of unemployment, its length, and earnings of program participants is determined. This paper is divided into seven sections: introduction; literature review; the Prison Industry Enhancement Certificate Program (PIE); theoretical background; methodology; findings regarding sample demography, how PIE participation affects employment outcomes, and how PIE participation affects wages; and conclusion. “The results ... Read More
44 pages

Available Training Opportunities

  • Available Online - Correctional Industries Director's Training
    Correctional Industries Director's Training. Correctional Industry Directors are called upon to provide dynamic and effective leadership which is a critical component in the success of any organization. Expanding leadership knowledge and enhancing leadership skills is the foundation for this training as it helps lay the groundwork for the complex work that must be done in this ever changing and challenging industry.
  • Available Online - Workforce Development Regional Training: Enhancing Correctional Industries’ Role in Reentry
    This is the second of three regional training opportunities provided as a result of the collaboration between the National Correctional Industries Association and the National Institute of Corrections.
  • Available Online - Offender Workforce Development Specialist Partnership Training Program
    This training addresses numerous competencies, including career development theory and application, ethics training for the career development facilitator, and transition interventions for the offender population.
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