Replicate Private Industry Environment

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The replication of private sector industries and environments in Correctional Industries (CI) operations includes work processes, procedures, equipment, training, certification, and associated methodologies.

A CI program should create a work environment that emulates real world work experience and effectively trains and prepares offenders for the transition to private sector employment upon release.


There are numerous reasons to replicate private industry within Correctional Industries operations but the most important reason is for offenders to have worked in, and experienced, a real world environment which mirrors private industry as closely as possible within the confines of the institution. It is the mission of CI to train and prepare offenders with transferable skills and to prepare them for transition to life in the community utilizing the skills they have learned. By utilizing the same processes, equipment, and procedures as the private sector, offenders have the opportunity to learn skills and earn certifications that can easily be transferred to private sector employment upon release.

These job skills, certifications, and experiences are often recognized by private industries when considering employment of offenders after release. In some cases, it will actually place the ex-offender in a more advantageous position during the hiring process than a non-offender who does not have job skills, certifications, and good work experience.

While it is recognized that some traditional Correctional Industry jobs are not directly transferrable to private industry applications, the soft skills and real life work experience (e.g. being at work on time, every day, for specific hours; working in teams; quality standards and expectations; productivity quotas; pay ranges; and pay bonuses) will prepare offenders for private industry and help them to adapt readily to the private sector environment.

The more transferable the experience and the closer it replicates private industry, the higher the potential for successful reentry.

Ideally, a recently released offender, who has Correctional Industry work experience, will find it a natural transition to the private sector work force.

The evidence is in job placement and retention after release, and sometimes in the selection for jobs prior to release. These are a direct result of the certifications and experience offenders gain while working in Correctional Industry programs.

Successful reentry and a reduction in recidivism is a clear benefit for offenders who previously worked in Correctional Industries environments.


  1. Research private industry.
    • Assess private industry operations prior to development, startup and implementation of new industries and operations.
    • Continually review existing operations to keep pace with latest technology, state-of-the-art equipment and modern processes.
  2. Create training opportunities.
    • Develop training that offers transferable skill development and certifications
    • Develop training that mirrors real world industry opportunities.
  3. Model the structure of CI operations after industry best practices.
    • Use lead personnel/offenders
    • Provide safety training and requiring safety equipment that meets OSHA requirements
    • Utilize just-in-time manufacturing processes
    • Utilize customer satisfaction surveys
    • Create job descriptions for offender jobs
    • Mirror job applications and interview processes
    • Mirror a work review process for offender workers
    • Structure plant layout of work stations for ultimate efficiency
    • Implement Lean manufacturing principles
    • Engage in Continuous Improvement methodology
    • Use private industry manufacturing partners/consultants
    • Utilize private industry quality assurance (QA) standards
    • Implement environmental sustainability principles
    • Implement preventative maintenance programs
  4. Utilize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications.
    • Shop travelers/routers for work instructions
    • Track direct/indirect labor costs and product costing
    • Real time tracking and production for scheduling
    • Real world time keeping
    • Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP)
    • Capacity Resource Planning (CRP)
  5. Utilize offenders in administrative and support positions.
    • In addition to traditional shop manufacturing jobs, offenders should be involved in administrative jobs. This can help lower Correctional Industry costs, while providing training and work experience in jobs such as accounting, call centers, engineering, material planning, production control, inventory management, receiving, shipping and customer service. If permitted, administrative duties can include receiving customer calls and making calls to current customers.
    • Offenders should be trained to use an ERP system within approved limits.
  6. Balance the use of technology with maximizing offender job opportunities
    • Balance the benefits and need for offender jobs versus the utilization of latest technology and automation which replicate private sector industries.
    • Offender duties should be balanced between lowering costs through the use of technology and providing the maximum number of jobs.
    • Balance the benefits of technology training and the need for offender jobs versus safety and security as well as the risk tolerance level of the Department of Corrections.
  7. Implement job and pay progressions for offenders.
    • Develop an offender pay progression plan.
    • Implement incentive programs that recognize achievements such as attendance, quality standards/criteria, productivity goals, and sales/revenue goals.
  8. Obtain compliance verification in conjunction with the Department of Corrections or through external sources.
    • Workforce Development Assessments
    • PIE Assessments
    • Security Audits
    • Safety and Environmental Audits
    • ACA Audits
    • Other certification audits, i.e., ISO


  • Competitive cost/pricing, quality, just-in-time and on-time delivery
  • Percent of offenders working after release compared to offenders without Correctional Industry Experience
  • Reduced recidivism rates for ex-offenders that participated in Correctional Industries while incarcerated

American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO and NCLE) 
American Quality Institute 
Association for Linen Management (ALM) (Formerly NALM) 
International Organization of Standards 
National Association of Manufacturers 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration


Computer Aided Design engineering and design applications/software (CAD)

Computer Aided Manufacturing applications/software (CAM)

Enterprise Resource Planning applications/software (ERP)

Just-in time manufacturing (JIT)

Lean Six Sigma

CI Models with Data to Support Success

Pennsylvania Correctional Industries – Certification programs in Association of Linen Management (ALM)/ American Board of Opticianry (ABO)/ American Welding Society (AWS)

North Carolina Correctional Enterprises – Apprenticeship programs in Printing/Bindery/Shipping and Receiving/Woodworking/Upholstery/ Sewing/Welding/Laundry

Maryland Correctional Enterprises – Apprenticeship program in Meat Cutting

Indiana PEN Products - US DOL Apprenticeships

Missouri Vocational Enterprises - US DOL Apprenticeships

California Prison Industries Authority – certification programs in American Board of Opticianry (ABO)/ American Welding Society (AWS)/ Association of Linen Management (ALM)/ CA Dept. of Food and Ag/ Ironworker/ Carpentry/ Laborer/ Diving/ Electronics Technician/ Braille/ Metalworking/ National Restaurant Association/ HVAC/ Forklift Operation/ Printing/ Dental Technician/ Fundamental Competencies/ Electrical Systems/ Mechanical Systems/ Packaging Machinery/ Machine Shop Practices/ Mechanical Maintenance/ Buildings and Grounds/ Welding/ Custodial Maintenance.