California prison program expects profit this year

07/18/2014 12:27 PM

07/18/2014 12:40 PM

A state system that uses inmate labor to provide goods and services will see its revenues jump 15.6 percent in fiscal 2014-15, according to a plan recently approved by the board of the California Prison Industry Authority.

The self-sustaining program will take in an anticipated $196.3 million this year that will fully fund its operations at 34 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities. The authority oversees inmate training programs that operate manufacturing, service, and agriculture industries. They produce everything from modular buildings and fire protection gear to furniture and pre-packaged meals. Most of what PIA makes is purchased by the state or other government entities. About 6,700 inmates will participate this year, earning nominal wages for their work.

Just a few years ago, the program was losing money, pinched by factory-closure costs, higher benefits costs for its government employees and money it put aside in anticipation of settling lawsuits.

This year’s rebound is fueled by an expansion of the authority’s construction and maintenance operation into specialized healthcare facilities at all of CDCR’s institutions. The expansion will employ over 900 inmates and generate $18.8 million in new revenue, the authority said in its annual plan.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service