The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

Jobs for Inmates In and Out of Prison

| April 5, 2012

For a prisoner exiting the corrections system, the ability to secure steady employment may determine whether he or she is able to successfully reenter society and begin a productive, law-abiding life.

In Texas and New York, two vocational programs—one for those behind bars and one for those freshly out—aim to increase the odds that an ex-inmate will be gainfully employed.

The Texas Correctional Industries system includes factories in 37 prisons for over 5,000 inmates, and it produces license plates, inmate clothing, tires, signs, furniture, shoes, and repaired computer equipment. TCI boasts a recidivism rate for its longest tenured employees that is half that of the general population. It aims not only to keep prisoners busy while behind bars, but also to provide technical skills useful for the job hunt on the outside.

In New York, the Transitional Jobs program out of the Center for Employment Opportunities puts ex-offenders to work, first by learning soft work skills, then through low-skill employment. An independent evaluation of the Transitional Jobs program found that it reduced recidivism by 16 to 22 percent.


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.