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Making Jails Productive
National Jail Exchange

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By Vic Jacobsen and James T. Barbee

(This article was published in American Jails magazine and has been posted with the permission of the American Jail Association.)


Jail industries and inmate work programs give inmates vocational training, work experience, income and/or privileges, and a sense of accomplishment. They offer the jail a spectrum of behavioral incentives for inmate management, they keep workers productively occupied, and they create quality, low-cost products for government or other end users.

This article introduces the January-February 2015 issue of American Jails magazine, which focuses on jail industries. Each of its authors has contributed more than 25 years to the development of jail industries while working within the National Institute of Corrections Jails Division and beyond.

Their article reviews the history of Federal support for the development of local jail industries, from initial research to the calling together of professionals who formed the Jail Industries Association in the 1980s. Core guidebooks emerging from this support have helped many local agencies work with area business communities and stakeholders, develop a business plan, and get inmate industries off to a productive and profitable start.

The authors also recommend new directions for making inmate industries even more responsive to market forces, new opportunities in training technology, and other factors.

The print issue includes additional articles on how to succeed in planning and operating jail industries, relevant legal issues, and other topics. It is available from the American Jail Association.


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Posted Mon, Mar 9 2015 7:00 AM by Elizabeth


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