Components web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 13:26
  • Incorporate Strategic Planning – Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of implementing and sustaining reentry-focused performance excellence.  It is the process of defining your organization’s direction and making decision in support of that strategy. 
  • Maintain Financial Sustainability – Self-sufficiency and sustainability are  essential to meet current and future obligations ensuring the long-term viability of a Correctional Industries program.
  • Recruit, Develop and Retain Staff – It is important to recruit individuals capable of performing the job today with the capacity to grow to meet the future needs of the organization. Staff as technical experts, work coaches and mentors are critical to the overall success of a Correctional Industries program.
  • Engage Stakeholders – Correctional industries operate within three spheres of influence: Government, Business and Societal.  It is important to understand stakeholder requirements and the impact of each one, as well as their relationship to each other.
  • Replicate Private Industry Environment – The more Correctional Industries utilize the same processes, controls, equipment and procedures as private industry, the better prepared the offender will be to find employment and successfully transition to the private sector. 
  • Implement Certificate Based Soft Skills Training – A certificate based training process creates standards and structure for soft skills attainment.  These skills, reinforced through the Correctional Industries environment can significantly improve offender behavior while incarcerated and promote successful reentry. 
  • Provide Certified Technical Skills Training – Certifications earned through technical skills training are a reliable predictor of workplace success and are essential to gainful attachment to the workforce upon release.
  • Maximize Offender Job Opportunities – Providing the greatest number of job opportunities for the offender population is critical to the overall impact that Correctional Industries has on reentry and recidivism.
  • Create a Culture of Offender Employment Readiness and Retention – Creating a culture focused on offender reentry success through employment readiness leads to employability and job retention after release.
  • Provide Post Release Employment Services – Post-release employment services support gainful attachment to the workforce. Continued engagement after job placement promotes retention, re-employment in the event of job loss, and assists with advancement opportunities. 

Incorporate Strategic Planning

Incorporate Strategic Planning web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 13:28


Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of implementing and sustaining the Correctional Industries Best Practices Model. Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its direction, goals, and strategies, and making decisions on allocating resources pursuant to those strategies. Strategic plans identify what an organization is striving to achieve and map out the necessary steps needed to be successful. Developing a strategic plan is a multi-step process with one step building off of another.

In Correctional Industries (CI), having a strategic plan is vital. A strategic plan should clearly define goals and measurements to assess both the internal and external situations. Formulating a strategic plan, implementing the strategies, evaluating progress and making adjustments as necessary will keep the CI’s purpose and direction on the right track.

A strategic plan includes having vision and mission statements that describe what you are doing and where you want to go. The vision and mission of a CI organization should include a focus on training and reentry, as well as the business aspects of the organization.


Strategic planning is a very important business activity that can be highly effective when incorporated in CI. No matter where your organization is in its development, it is always important to evaluate where it is currently, where you want it to be, and when. Strategic Planning is the process used in setting goals that will help lead the organization to success.

A strategic plan is dynamic, yet practical, and serves as a guide to implementing programs, evaluating how these programs are doing and making adjustments when necessary. A strategic plan reflects the needs of the organization and customers, and will integrate them with the organization's purpose, mission, and vision into a single document. The development of a plan requires much probing, discussion, and examination of the views of the leaders who are responsible for the plan's preparation. It is an excellent process in evaluating an organization and will provide a plan for incorporating best practices into daily processes.

The purpose of strategic planning is to assist CI in establishing priorities that will better serve the needs of incarcerated individuals, employees and stakeholders. 


1. Determine the current state of your Correctional Industry

In order to determine the future direction of the organization, it is necessary to understand its current position and the possible avenues through which it can pursue particular courses of action. This is harder than it looks. Some leaders see their organization how they want it to be, not how it actually appears to others.

Generally, the strategic planning process starts with at least one of four key questions:

  • What do we do?
  • For whom do we do it?
  • What do we want to look like?
  • How do we excel?

For an accurate picture of your Correctional Industry, conduct external and internal analysis to get a clear understanding of your organization’s competencies. Reviews may include conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, as well as reviewing departmental goals/strategies, legislation, core values, stakeholder and customer feedback, etc. The review should include an analysis of the focus of each industry and its culture. 

2. Identify what’s important

Focus on where you want to take your organization over time. This sets the direction of the CI program over the long term and clearly defines the vision and mission of what your future organization should look like. From this analysis, you can determine the priority issues—those issues so significant to the overall well-being of your CI program that they require the full and immediate attention of the entire management team. The strategic plan should focus on three to five key goals. Remember to include safety and security within CI operations, as they are critical to the sustainability of the CI program.

3. Define what you must achieve

Define the expected goals that clearly state what the organization must achieve to address the identified priority issues. Review validated research and proven programs to help define objectives, strategies and performance measures. Define the what, how and when of data collection. Reach out to other agencies, universities and research institutes to determine data availability.

4. Evaluate long-term sustainability

Define the resources and budget necessary to continually fund efforts to achieve the goals. Evaluate revenue, reserve fund balance, future capital investments, and ability to obtain grant funds.

5. Determine who is accountable

This is how to get to where you want to go. The strategies, action plans, and budgets are all steps in the process that effectively communicate how you will allocate time, human capital, and funding to address the priority issues and achieve the defined goals and objectives. It is recommended that each goal is assigned to an individual or group to champion its progression.

6. Obtain Buy-In

Involve staff, incarcerated individuals and stakeholders in the creation, implementation and progress of the strategic plan. Success towards goals will be difficult to achieve without the cooperation of these core groups.

7. Review, Review, Review

To ensure the plan performs as designed, regularly scheduled formal reviews of performance measures must be completed. Review the process and refine as necessary. Champions should meet regularly, at least quarterly, to report on progress, barriers and successes. Progress should be reported to key stakeholders continually, but not less than annually. Clear and concise reporting can be accomplished through the use of dashboards, providing textual and visual summaries of key indicators.


Identify key data sets to track, report and gauge success. Sample measurements include:

  • Incarcerated individual jobs available
  • Recidivism rate for CI-trained workers at one and three years after release
  • Certifications awarded to incarcerated individuals
  • Portfolio of accomplishments for incarcerated individuals
  • Incarcerated individuals trained in soft-skill training programs
  • Incarcerated individuals receiving job readiness training
  • Job readiness assessments conducted
  • CI worker referrals to business community
  • Incarcerated individuals securing employment within 90 days of release.
  • Incarcerated individuals retaining employment at 6 months
  • Earnings received at 6 months after entry into employment
  • Post-release employment services
  • Letters of reference issued
  • Collection of restitution, room and board, victim’s funds, family support, etc.
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Community and State partnerships
  • Customer satisfaction rates
  • Customer complaints
  • Sales
  • On-time deliveries
  • Safety violations
  • Employee training hours
  • CI worker training hours





Sample Dashboard

sample dashboard

Maintain Financial Sustainability

Maintain Financial Sustainability web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 14:02


Financial sustainability is the generation of sales revenue to cover all costs and financial obligations associated with Correctional Industries (CI) operations. The concept of a triple bottom line has emerged in Correctional Industries which focuses not only on the needs of customers, but also the funding of the social mission and value provided by the organization to incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry.

Triple bottom line accounting expands the traditional reporting framework to take into account social and environmental performance in addition to financial performance. This has also been further referred to as identifying business performance as “full cost accounting” including economic/financial, social/ethical and environmental/ecological.

Financial sustainability is essential to CI’s mission of providing vocational and soft skills training and certifications for individuals while incarcerated. These certifications and training, in turn, lead to increased opportunities upon release for real life employment for incarcerated individuals, thereby reducing recidivism.


Achieving financial self-sufficiency will result in financial gains and therefore maintenance or growth of adequate operational funds. In order to achieve this, CIs must be customer-driven, focusing on quality, on-time delivery and competitive pricing. In addition, CIs should pursue new business partners/models to bring in new products and revenues, and seek cost efficiencies and competitiveness while operating in a corrections environment.

Adequate operational funds will cover fixed costs as well as allow for the timely ability to procure raw materials, maintain inventories, capitalize building and equipment purchases, fund any necessary expansion of operations and provide the ability to complete needed repairs & maintenance. These funds also allow Correctional Industries to meet the demands of customers and to keep up with technology advances in operations. This also creates an ability to increase the number and types of opportunities offered to the incarcerated workforce in job training programs.

There may be business units that are not financially self-sufficient but provide valuable work opportunities for numerous incarcerated individuals. Correctional Industries can balance these with business units that can offset the financial loss.

Financially self-sufficient Correctional Industries are recognized as a viable reentry/ incarcerated job program that does not burden annual General Fund appropriations. Additionally, Correctional Industries reduces the cost of corrections security and/or programming staff required for the supervision of the incarcerated individuals.

Financial sustainability and associated funding reserves provide the basis for promoting current operational expansion as well as the ability to explore, consider, and implement new operations, thereby maintaining the number of current incarcerated individual positions and creating and expanding incarcerated individual opportunities within Correctional Industries. Funding reserves will help carry a CI through an economic downturn and/or lean budget cycles.


1. Develop annual business operating plan to support the strategic plan

a) Budgets (Short and Long-Term)

Historical data should be considered when preparing budgets. Known business changes (expansions, end of a product line, etc.) should be considered when preparing budgets.

Forecasts of sales revenue are generated for the budget period by the sales and marketing plan. Define key market segments, customer groups, and stakeholder groups and the key requirements and expectations for products, operational capabilities, customer support services, and overall operations.

Include asset planning in the budget development process. The primary goal of asset planning is to maximize the return on investment of existing or additional assets which leads to delivery of customer value.

Determine costs based on sales volume and product mix using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The following is a list of some common costs which should be included:

  • Cost of sales (raw materials, indirect and direct labor)
  • Administration (including salaries & benefits)
  • Rent
  • Depreciation
  • Utilities
  • Communications
  • Freight
  • Repair & Maintenance

b) Sales & Marketing

A Sales & Marketing plan should be included within the business plan. The Sales and Marketing plan should identify the customer base for particular products and services so that efforts can be geared to those areas. Increasing sales will allow for greater contributions to funding reserves, thus contributing to financial sustainability.

c) Expansion Planning

Correctional Industry programs must always have a focus on the future. Monitoring market trends and identifying opportunities is essential in understanding when investments should be made in particular business units.

d) Financial Statements

The three primary types of financial statements useful to manage a financially self-sustaining organization are:

  • Balance Sheets
  • Profit and Loss (P&L) Statements
  • Statements of Cash Flow

Monthly P&L statements must adhere to GAAP and need to be generated and tracked by your fiscal department and distributed to executive, operational, and sales management staff for analysis and adjustments in operations/sales. Managers at every level should be able to read and interpret financial results so that trends, threats, and opportunities can be identified and acted upon as quickly as possible. Footnotes should be included as part of these statements to explain current vs. past results and unexpected variances which will assist in proper assessment of future expectations upon which to make decisions.

e) Maintain positive cash flow

Revenue streams are the channels through which money flows into an organization. Self-sustaining CIs must rely primarily on sales of products and services.

Sufficient operating funds should be maintained to pay monthly expenditures and purchase raw materials and goods to efficiently run business operations.

One of the biggest factors affecting cash flow is the cash conversion cycle – the period of time beginning with initial outlay of cash for raw materials and ending with receipt of payment for goods or services provided. For many CI’s, this can be a longer period than expected (or experienced in the private sector) due to governmental customers’ rules and regulations for processing payments, CI’s raw material procurement requirements, production capabilities, incarcerated individual staffing, delivery timelines, collection capabilities, etc.

2. Manage Legislative Environment

Review legislative language for potential impact on CI’s, as well as for possible market expansion. It is important to understand the legislative landscape and revenue streams available in each state to maximize those revenues and training opportunities for incarcerated individuals. Some legislative considerations may include the following markets:

  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • State Employees and Retirees
  • General Public (in-state)
  • Contractors Working on Public Contracts
  • Service Operations

3. Implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions

  • Inventory Control
  • Real time order processing
  • Estimated versus actual costing
  • Accurate and timely financial reporting both monthly and annually
  • Develop annual budgets with sales and capital forecasting

4. Communicate with Executive Leadership and Industry Boards

  • Collaborate with department leadership on initiatives and challenges
  • Establish open communication and regular meetings with executive staff and industry boards.
  • Work with institutional leadership to prevent production interruptions.

5. Obtain compliance verification

Compliance may be obtained through the following audits or assessments:

  • Fiscal Audits
  • Performance Audits
  • American Correctional Association Audits
  • Risk Management Audits
  • Human Resource/Payroll Audits
  • Bureau of Justice Assistance (PIECP)


  • Financial Statements
  • Positive net income and fund reserves
  • New or Expanded Operations
  • Ability to fund CI reentry programs for incarcerated individuals
  • Diversified customer base
  • Customer Satisfaction Ratings



  • Bragg, S.M. (2011) Inventory Best Practices (2nd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Bruner, R. F., Eaker, M. R., Freeman, E. R., Spekman, R. E., Teisberg, E. O., Venkataraman, S. (2003). The Portable MBA (4th Ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Piasecki, D. J., (2003). Inventory Accuracy: People, Processes, & Technology. Kenosha, WI: OPS Publishing.
  • Womack, J. P., Jones, D. T., Roos, D. (2007). The Machine that Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production. New York: Free Press.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Subject matters: Risk Management and Internal Controls.
Government Accountability Office, Subject matters: An Audit Quality Control System: Essential Elements.
The International Organization for Standards outlining International Standards for business, government and society. Subject matters: ISO 31000 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines
The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program website, Subject matters: Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
American Correctional Association for ACA Standards and Performance-Based Standards for Correctional Industries


  • Budgets and Strategic Plans, 1 year and 5 year
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions (Global Shop, Epicor, SAP)
  • Financial statements: Monthly and Annual
  • Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • NCIA Regional and National Conferences including vendor contact, training sessions and networking with other Correctional Industries professionals.

Recruit Develop and Retain Staff

Recruit Develop and Retain Staff web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 16:59


Employing staff as technical experts, work coaches and mentors is critical to the overall success of Correctional Industry (CI) programs. The civilian workforce must be forward-thinking, have the capability to accomplish the expectations of the organization today, the capacity to grow and develop with an organization to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and the desire to do both.


Strategic workforce planning is the process of defining organizational goals for current and future needs, then planning how to recruit and/or develop a workforce that is capable of implementing and achieving goals.

In order to recruit, retain and develop staff, a well-organized plan that addresses each element should be developed based on the Strategic Plan. In workforce development planning, strategies and goals are clearly defined and the specific functions are outlined. The plan involves defining the work roles needed for each function, including the number of persons needed, and the competencies required.

Correctional Industries are multi-faceted, operating a business model that provides incarcerated individuals with education and training in both technical and soft skills. These skills are essential for a successful transition to the community. CI plays a critical role in the successful reentry of individuals through the context of work.

CI programs operate through a workforce model of civilian staff and incarcerated workers. Working directly with the incarcerated individuals, the civilian workforce is responsible for teaching, coaching and mentoring in an effort to ingrain the newly acquired skills and influence behavioral changes. Successful programs utilize evidence-based training to develop staff skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, active listening, communication and negotiation, which in turn increases workforce engagement, accountability and productivity.

CI Training 2

According to research by Audra Bianca, “ What Constitutes the Most Important Part of Employee Development?” employee development is something that managers and human resource professionals give much attention to because employees are an organization’s most critical asset. When viewing employees as capital, organizations will invest money, time and other resources in their development. The return on investment expected is simple: the better employees perform, the greater their contributions to the organization, resulting in a healthier organization.

Employee development inspires workers to be loyal and produce innovative ideas. When employees are given a chance to sharpen their skills and expand what they know, their fresh, new ideas contribute value to the organization. If employees are not challenged, they have few reasons to be creative, imaginative or invest in their work.

Staff should be developed and recognized as assets. A manager should serve as a leader, coach and mentor in order to connect and develop employees. It is vital to develop employees who can teach the skills necessary in order for others to become more effective on the job.


1. Conduct strategic workforce planning

a) Organization Mission/Vision

Prior to workforce planning an organization should evaluate its mission and vision to ensure they accurately represent the purpose of their existence and their future direction. The mission and vision will guide the direction of the workforce at all levels within the organization.

b) Organization Values

The culture of an organization is directly related to its value system. Core values will guide the actions and behaviors that are expected. Once the mission and vision have been reviewed, the values should be evaluated to ensure that they will consistently guide staff to act and make decisions in a manner that supports the organizational culture.

c) Classification System

A job classification system is a structure for objectively and accurately defining and evaluating the duties, responsibilities, tasks and authority level of a position.

Each position should include a thorough description of job responsibilities, including the knowledge, skills, experience and education required to succeed. This system should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it reflects role clarity, accurate responsibilities and expectations.

2. Identify workforce competencies

CI programs operate as learning organizations, developing staff skill sets to teach both the technical and soft skills to the incarcerated workforce. Training should include identifying and addressing criminogenic risk/needs factors for incarcerated individuals which are associated with maintaining a gainful attachment to the workforce. Operating a CI organization on the premise “you cannot teach what you do not know” will guide the ongoing development of staff to ensure they are role models for both the civilian and incarcerated individuals working in the program. Identifying and developing competencies in the following areas will promote a best-in-class environment:

a) Skill Set Assessments

The competencies of the workforce should be assessed, which may include interests, skills, values and personality. These assessments allow gaps in skill sets to be identified and gauge organizational compatibility. Options for filling the gaps may require reassigning staff to new roles, training, hiring staff with the required competencies and creating new structural opportunities.

b) Technical Skills

When recruiting and hiring, identify the technical skills required for each position. In the case of current staff, technical skills can be obtained through formal educational institutions or certifying organizations.

3. Provide professional development to ensure ongoing staff engagement and succession planning

The objective of professional development is to ensure that well-qualified and motivated employees are prepared to assume critical positions as they become vacant. As leaders, it is necessary to model, coach and support individual development.

CI staff are in a unique position because their role is to help individuals realize that they can change and provide them with the tools necessary to sustain the change. Sustainable change comes through the ability to influence behavior. Ongoing staff development should focus on the following areas:

  • Influencing changes in behavior
  • Role modeling behavior
  • Decision making strategies
  • Team Building
  • Collaboration
  • Empowering others to innovate and lead

a) Cognitive Behavioral Training (CBT)

Competencies such as problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, managing conflict, written and verbal communication, and active listening are required for effective performance in many positions. Strengthening these skills will enhance the effectiveness of the civilian workforce as they teach, demonstrate and reinforce these competencies with the incarcerated workforce.

The National Institute of Corrections’ “Thinking for a Change” is one CBT program offered to CI staff. Upon completion, staff are qualified to facilitate this training to the incarcerated population.

b) Vocational Education/Apprenticeships

CI programs are enhancing their services by incorporating or collaborating with educational programming, vocational certifications and apprenticeships which tie directly to business operations. These are available through local educational institutions, the U.S. Department of Labor and other local or nationally recognized certifying organizations. Supervisors obtaining educational credentials will bring credibility to the program and act as role models.

c) NIC Employment Series

Evidenced Based Workforce Training Series


The Evidenced Based Workforce Training Series - based on evidence-based practices, combines cognitive behavioral interventions with motivational interviewing techniques to address gainful attachment to the workforce and/or job loss. This ‘hand in glove’ approach supports the honest exploration of thoughts, feelings and beliefs affecting employment while addressing quality of life issues. In addition, the series utilizes the Employment Retention Inventory (ERI) - developed as a case management tool, to connect justice-involved adults to appropriate services and support.

This series incorporates a spiral curriculum method where topics and themes repeat in increasing depth to allow mastery of knowledge and skills.

The Evidenced Based Workforce Training Series consist of the following training events:

Employment Retention: Principles and Practice (24-hour Regional Training)

  • Introduction to motivational interviewing techniques
  • Introduction to cognitive behavioral interventions
  • Career theory and assessments

E-Learning Modules (4-hour web-based training)

  • Employment retention strategies
  • Evidence-based concepts
  • Motivational interviewing

Employment Retention: Criminal Justice System (40-hour instructor lead)

  • Continuum of care model
  • Career theory operationalization
  • Employment Retention Inventory

Professional Coaching Sessions (2-Hour Quarterly sessions)

  • Skill mastery
  • Knowledge enhancement

d) National Institute of Corrections (NIC) – CI Executive Leadership Training

The NIC has developed a comprehensive leadership development program geared for the emerging leaders in the CI field. The program covers topics such as:

  • Dynamic Leadership
  • Managing Stakeholder Network
  • Balancing Internal and External Environments
  • Marketing
  • Assuring Customer Satisfaction
  • Developing a Workforce of Incarcerated Individuals
  • Reentry Resources
  • Developing Staff Workforce Competencies
  • Ensuring Financial Self-Sufficiency
  • Evaluating Organizational Performance

This leadership development program focuses on bringing awareness to the competencies needed for the CI leaders of the future.

4. Integrate coaching as a communication and performance management tool.

Introducing a coaching model into a CI program will enhance the overall communication between CI staff and the incarcerated workforce/population. The premise of ongoing coaching is to gain timely and relevant feedback in order to assist an individual in developing to their full potential. Coaching becomes the model used throughout your CI program and can be used at any level between supervisors and staff members or between staff and incarcerated individuals. Coaching does not supplant a Performance Management System but rather supplements it with informal ongoing communication geared toward identifying both successes and opportunities for improvement. Coaching is a skill set that should be taught and continually reinforced to ensure it is accomplishing the intended result of influencing sustainable change.

5. Implement a performance management system

A performance management system should provide employees with:

  • A clear understanding of job expectations
  • Ongoing feedback about performance
  • Advice and steps for improving performance
  • Recognition of outstanding performance

The goal of a performance management system is to help improve employee performance and ultimately the productivity of the organization.

Performance management consists of a continuous dialogue between supervisors and their workforce in order to set goals and expectations, monitor progress, provide feedback, develop opportunities for improvement and evaluate progress. Competency-based performance management focuses on assessing and rewarding both how work is done (process) and the goals achieved (outcomes). Staff are aware of the competencies needed to achieve those goals and emphasis is placed on providing ongoing coaching and feedback.

For it to be effective, a performance management system should incorporate the following critical elements:

  • updated job descriptions
  • performance measures
  • workplace standards
  • evaluation methods
  • reward/recognition system

In the CI work environment both staff and incarcerated individuals should receive ongoing feedback through a formal performance management system.


  • Average Tenure of Employees
  • Days to Fill Open Position
  • Employee Engagement Surveys
  • Performance Evaluation System
  • Staff Turnover Rate



  • Bianca, Audra. What Constitutes the Most Important Part of Employee Development? Chron.
  • Demand Media.
  • Kouzes, J. M., & Barry Z. Posner. (2003). Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Kouzes, J. M., & Barry Z. Posner. (2008). Leadership Challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lagan, Ph.D. Timothy and Barton, Ph.D. Margaret and Holloway-Lundy, M.S. Anne. Workforce
  • and Succession Planning for Mission Critical Occupations. Center for Talent Service (CTS). United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
  • Marrelli, A. (2001). Introduction to Competency Modeling. New York: American Express.
  • Marrelli, A. (2001). How to Implement Performance Improvement Step-by-Step. In M Silberman (Ed.), The consultant’s toolkit: 45 high-impact questionnaires, activities, and how-to guides for diagnosing and solving client problems (pp. 210–218). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Minter, R. L. & Thomas, E. G. (2000). Employee Development through Coaching, Mentoring and Counseling: A Multidimensional Approach. Review of Business, 21(1/2), 43-47. National Institute of Health (NIH) Workplace Planning Instructional Guide
  • O’Tool, J. & Lawler III, E.E. (2006). The New American Workplace. Palgrave (Society for Human Resource Management), Macmillan.
  • Simonsen, P. (1997). Promoting a Development Culture in Your Organization: Using Career
  • Development as a Change Agent. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.


ACA Standards
Gallup Reports
National Institute of Corrections – Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX)
Society for Human Resource Management


Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Toolkits for Developing Employees
Talent LMS - Top 9 Online Employee Training Tools
ERC 6 Tools to Develop Employees' Careers
Relias Using Assessments for Hiring, Retention and Employee Development
Psychometrics - Employee Development Assessments

Engage Stakeholders

Engage Stakeholders web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 17:28


Engaging stakeholders through education and communication to gain support is paramount to implementing and sustaining the Correctional Industries (CI) Best Practices Model for Reentry.

Correctional Industries operate under three spheres of influence: Government, Business and Social. It is important to understand the requirements and impact of each sphere, as well as their relationships to each other.

Stakeholders include any group or individuals, internal or external, who affect or may be affected by the achievement of an organization’s mission. For Correctional Industries, these groups include customers, employees, legislators, government officials, Departments of Correction, offenders, private businesses, media, and special interest groups. CI’s need to know who their stakeholders are, understand the nature of their relationships with them, and how to manage and shape those relationships over time.

The creation of long-standing, loyal stakeholder relationships is essential. Factors that can de-rail collaborative relationships include the absence of effective leadership; poor communication; power struggles; silos; absence of follow-though; poorly organized meetings; and the absence of a clear vision or objectives, just to name a few. Characteristics of successful collaborations include: clear and relevant goals, principled leadership, competent team members, a collaborative climate and results driven structure, unified commitment, external support and recognition, and standards of excellence. By engaging stakeholders in a compelling way that leverages their ability to support the mission, it will greatly enhance the likelihood of the Correctional Industry (CI) program’s success.


In order to be a successful correctional industries operation, it is imperative that the agency educate and communicate with stakeholders to gain support for its programs. Correctional industries maintain many complex relationships with their stakeholders, and can lose valuable support if these relationships are not properly managed and nurtured. The underlying value inherent to each individual stakeholder must be identified and reinforced.

Educating stakeholders about the mission includes managing communications as well as understanding how to effectively deal with the organizations or persons that may oppose the Correctional Industry agency’s efforts. Given the sometimes limited view of correctional industries due to a lack of information or misinformation, it is crucial that every organization effectively maintain and improve stakeholder relationships so that the agency proactively manages its messaging to sustain ongoing support for its program. It is likewise important that CI practitioners educate potential stakeholders who may have little understanding or knowledge of Correctional Industries.

The ongoing communication with and education of stakeholders will:

  • Validate the CI program’s proven success
  • Inform decision-makers about the positive impact of your program
  • Demonstrate how resources are being used responsibly and effectively
  • Share best- and evidenced-based practices with your community
  • Attract new partners for collaboration or strategic alliances

The more stakeholders know about Correctional Industry programs, the more likely they will support it. This can be accomplished:

  • By recording program successes and sharing this information with stakeholders, stakeholders can become champions for the agency and can serve as advisors and spokespersons in support of the organization’s mission and goals.
  • Forming strategies and strategic alliances to develop new or improve collaborations can provide many benefits, including opportunities for program innovation, access to new resources, and increased positive visibility through shared media contacts.


  1. Identify stakeholders, both internal and external.

    Brainstorming is one method for identifying stakeholders. Other methods include:

    • Reviewing an organization’s organizational chart
    • Surveying employees, customers and/or stakeholders
    • Using social media to conduct research

    Examples of common stakeholders for CI include:


    • Correctional Industries Employees
    • Offenders (whether or not they work in a CI program)
    • Correctional Staff
    • Corrections Administrators
    • Employee Unions


    • Customers
    • Boards of Directors/Advisory Boards
    • Legislators/Elected Officials
    • Government Agencies
    • Media
    • Special Interest Groups (e.g., victims’ organizations, faith-based groups, etc.)
    • Suppliers
    • Private Sector Businesses
    • Community Constituants
    • Community Groups (that provide services to former offenders)
    • Criminal Justice System
    • Family Units (members in offenders’ lives)
    • Trade Unions
    • Competitors
  2. Conduct a stakeholder analysis.

    Once all stakeholders have been identified, conduct a stakeholder analysis. This will allow for categorizing them according to their level of impact upon your organization, and help tailor appropriate messaging in line with relationships. The stakeholder analysis attempts to identify the following:

    • Stakeholders having the greatest influence on the program
    • Stakeholders who are directly and/or indirectly involved
    • Stakeholders requiring more attention
    • Stakeholders’ needs for ongoing communication and updates
    • Stakeholders who simply need to be monitored
  3. Map stakeholders.

    Place each stakeholder’s position on the Stakeholder Map (see Tools section) according to the extent of their influence and interest in your program. If a stakeholder rates a high interest level and may exert a significant degree of influence, fully engage and manage this relationship closely. Conversely, if a stakeholder rates a low interest/impact level and has less influence over your program, monitoring the relationship may be all that is needed.

  4. Develop a plan to manage stakeholders.

    After stakeholders have been identified, categorized, and qualified, a communication plan should be developed to manage your relationships. Be certain to consider what drives them and determine how they feel about your organization’s mission and strategies. Without a clear understanding of what motivates your stakeholders, gaining support for your program will be difficult.

    The following questions can help to understand your stakeholders:

    • What interest do they have in your work?
    • How do they view your work?
    • Do they find value in your work?
    • Do they have negative or positive emotional interest in your program?
    • What is their current opinion about your work?
    • Is their opinion accurate?
    • If their opinion is negative, what can be done to change it?
    • What information do they need from you?
    • What is the best way to communicate with them?
    • Who can best influence the stakeholder?
    • How can Correctional Industries benefit the stakeholder?
    • If a stakeholder’s support cannot be obtained, what can be done to manage or neutralize their sphere of influence?
  5. Educate stakeholders.

    In order to educate stakeholders, you must first understand their “trigger points.” Consider the following questions for each stakeholder:

    • What information do they expect?
    • What is the best way to communicate with them?
    • Who can best influence the stakeholder?
    • How does the work, project, or mission benefit the stakeholder?
    • If support for the work cannot be obtained, what can be done to manage or neutralize their sphere of negative influence

    Evaluate how best to determine the answers to these questions for each stakeholder. Some methods include: one-on-one meetings or telephone calls; surveys; focus groups; inviting stakeholders to agency meetings; attending stakeholder initiated meetings; inviting stakeholders to serve on advisory committees; breakfast or lunch meetings; and site visits to operations.

    Tailoring your approach based on the needs of each stakeholder and identify the ways in which your work or project can benefit them; that, in turn, will encourage positive solutions.

    Ways to educate stakeholders include tours/open houses; newsletters; social networking; program briefs featuring success stories; legislative events; program graduations and web pages and videos dedicated to success stories and/or program impact.

  6. Communicate brand identity.

    Every correctional industries program needs to communicate its brand identity in a clear, compelling and consistent manner, both internally and externally. Periodic meetings, internal emails, and agency newsletters to reinforce your objectives; compelling, memorable taglines, consistent messaging, and ongoing, proactive media outreach are possible methods to effectively deliver these communications.

  7. Create a communication plan to include talking points for stakeholder outreach.

    Talking points are brief “sound bites” that persuasively support your organization’s messaging or mission. It’s best to create a series of them to cover a variety of key topics/issues of importance, to be used, as appropriate, in conjunction with presentations, media involvement, or other situations where immediate, “think on your feet” responses might be required. Of course, each must be supported by facts or anecdotal evidence from the organization and modified based on the target audience. For example, Correctional Industries:

    • Reduce prison idleness, increase inmate job skills, and help offenders make a successful transition to the community
    • Increase public safety by reducing recidivism
    • Reduce correctional costs by engaging in self-sustaining initiatives
    • Create a better prepared workforce entering the community
    • Enable offenders to support family members, and compensate crime victims
    • Correctional industry programs are largely self-sustaining and self-funded. They do not receive tax dollars
    • Support the local, state and federal economy
  8. Cultivate champions.

    When a stakeholder is identified as a potential ‘champion’ for your agency, be sure to tailor communications strategies carefully so that ultimately, he/she can become an advocate and promoter of the organization’s mission and objectives.

  9. Communicate with difficult stakeholders.

    It’s important to understand difficult stakeholders as well as their “hot buttons” in order to develop an effective relationship development strategy. Consider the stakeholder’s opinion of the mission; the stakeholder’s goals and objectives; how CI can help them meet their goals and objectives; and ultimately, the best way to communicate.

  10. Build strategic alliances.

    When building strategic alliances, it is important to establish desired outcomes and be clear about them. Identify key steps that each partner will take to achieve mutually agreeable goals, based on a timeline that works for both parties. Strive to create “win-win” solutions and celebrate successes.

  11. Develop and maintain security relationships.

    In any correctional facility, reliable security is essential to protect the safety of offenders, staff, and the public. As a major internal stakeholder, it is essential for correctional industries to develop and maintain positive working relationships with security personnel for the mutual benefit of the facility’s security and to support CI’s mission.

  12. Formulate legislative strategy.

    Supportive legislation is the foundation for creating a sustainable and a viable correctional industries program that provides ongoing opportunities for offenders’ long-term prospects for reentry success. If the laws and regulations governing your operations meet your present and future needs, it may be sufficient to limit your strategies to maintain or increase awareness among legislators and the public about the work. If not, a more comprehensive and phased legislative plan may be needed. Depending on agency policies, you may be required to gain approval prior to working directly with legislative bodies. If your agency has a legislative liaison, it is important to first educate then work with them for legislative contact.

  13. Utilize media.

    The exchange of information is key to educate, communicate and build stakeholder support. Traditional media outlets have the capacity to broaden our reach to the three spheres of influence. Advances in technology require CIs to strategically utilize both the traditional forms of media including, but not limited to newsprint, radio, and television while also developing a web presence and social media representation. The key messages could include CI research, products, success stories and defining CI’s respective mission. All contact with the media should be coordinated through your agency’s press office, if applicable.


Develop key data sets to gauge success, track and report. Sample measurement criteria include:

  • Program supporters
  • Program detractors
  • Business partnerships (and spheres of influence over your program; where you were vs. where you are in comparison)
  • Community collaborations
  • Diversified customer base
  • Financial self sufficiency
  • Customer satisfaction rate
  • Customer concerns and complaints




  • Buchholz, S., & Roth, T. (1987).  Creating the High-Performance Team. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 
  • Carter, M., et al (2005). Collaboration:  A Training Curriculum to Enhance the Effectiveness of Criminal Justice Teams. Reston, VA: Criminal Justice Institute.  Available at
  • Covey, S. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York, NY: Free Press. 
  • Foley, J., & Kendrick, J. (2006).  Balanced Brand:  How to Balance the Stakeholder Forces That Can Make or Break your Business.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.
  • Freeman, R. E., et al. (2007).  Managing for Stakeholders: Survival, Reputation, and Success.  New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press.
  • Hansen, M. T. (2009). Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
  • Larson, Carl E., & Frank M.J. LaFasto (1989). Teamwork: What Must Go Right, What Can Go Wrong.  Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Lencioni, Patrick. 2002. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass.
  • Swets, Paul M. 1983.  The Art of Talking So that People Will Listen: Getting through to Family, Friends & Business Associates.  New York, NY: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  • Watkins, Michael.  2003.  The First 90 days. Boston, MA.  Harvard Business Press.

This site is maintained by the American Probation and Parole Association as is the home page of their National Branding Initiative. It has links to a turnkey kit, a media training manual, and other valuable information related to branding.
The Lobby Disclosure Act governs lobbying efforts with the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. This site provided guidance regarding the Act.
This site is maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures and provides links to States' legislative ethics and lobbying laws.
This site is maintained by UNICOR and provides a brief statistical synopsis demonstrating the positive Social-Economic Impact of the UNICOR program.
This site is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and provides information on the Post-Release Employment Project (PREP) study report, showing the research findings and statistical significance of the UNICOR program in reducing recidivism and increasing offender employment after release.
This site is maintained by UNICOR to provide the 10 top reasons to purchase from UNICOR.
This site is maintained by UNICOR to provide the history of Federal Prison Industries in a historical document entitled “Factories With Fences: 75 Years of Changing Lives.”



Stakeholder Mapping

stakeholder mapping

Brand Identity Tools

Meetings can be used to provide staff with information about your brand, its value to the organization, how it should be communicated to your stakeholders.

Internal e-mails can be used to remind staff of your brand’s promise and build support for it. They can also contain tag lines and/or logos that reinforce your brand identity.

Agency newsletters can feature stories highlighting activities that embody your brand’s promise.

A tagline is a short and striking memorable phrase that sums up the tone and promise of a brand and reinforces your customer’s memory of a product or service. You should use taglines on all your communications.

A key message is a brief paragraph that sums up the nature of your work and its impact upon offenders and the communities in which they live. Key messages should be backed up by research or other supporting evidence.

Because much of the news in the field of corrections is negative, it is necessary for correctional industries directors to be proactive in their relationships with the media and use outreach efforts to build and enhance their brands. The media includes national broadcast networks, local radio and television stations, newspapers, wire services, national publications, and trade publications.

A talking point is a brief statement that persuasively supports your position or organization’s objectives.

When developing a collaborative effort, it can be useful to assess the group’s strengths and weaknesses. This Collaboration Inventory will allow you to address any deficiencies that might exist and increase the probability of the group’s success.

Collaboration Inventory

collaboration inventory


Working with Legislators

Legislator Checklist

The first step in beginning a legislative initiative is to develop relationships that are critical for the passage of a particular bill. Some of these relationships will be with legislators and others will be with their staff members or key aides. Ideally, you should develop these relationships in advance of proposing legislation. This can be done by keeping legislators apprised of your activities and the results achieved by your efforts, inviting them to speak at program graduations, and attending political or social events where you can meet and talk informally with legislators.

You should create a listing of all officials who should be kept informed of the legislation you are proposing. Some of these officials – because of their seniority or committee membership – will have more control over the legislation you seek to have enacted.

Use your list of legislators to track their support of the bill. You should note whether they support it, oppose it, or are undecided. As bills proceed through the legislative process, it is not uncommon for the sponsors to amend the language. This needs to be tracked as well because amendments can significantly change the intent of proposed bill. If the bill is altered to the point where you can no longer support it, you may need to withdraw that support and reintroduce the bill at a later time.

Preparing to Meet with a Legislator Checklist


CI Models with Data to Support Success

Indiana PEN Products

Illinois Correctional Industries

Replicate Private Industry Environment

Replicate Private Industry Environment web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 17:49


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 Agro 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.

Implement Certificate-Based Soft Skills Training

Implement Certificate-Based Soft Skills Training web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 18:06


Soft skills is a term often associated with a person's Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), the collection of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people. Soft skills complement technical skills which are the occupational proficiencies required for a specific job or activity. Soft skills are related to feelings, emotions, and insights, and provide an important complement to technical skills.


Soft skills are an important part of an individual’s contribution to the success of an organization. Organizations that train their staff to use these skills are generally more successful. For this reason, soft skills are increasingly sought out by employers in addition to technical skills.

The soft skills taught through Correctional Industries (CI) programs go hand in hand with post-release employability. The Council of State Government’s National Reentry Resource Center clearly shows a link between employment and reduction in recidivism. The ability to gain and retain employment is an important factor in reducing recidivism, a significant percentage of formerly incarcerated individuals rearrested are unemployed at time of re-arrest. An unemployed formerly incarcerated individual is far more likely to return to prison than an employed formerly incarcerated individual.

CI programs benefit from incarcerated individuals participating in soft skills programs. As incarcerated individuals learn these soft skills, which are necessary to excel in a post-release work environment, there is also a positive impact realized in their CI work assignment and institutional behavior. Many studies have shown results similar to the BOP study which showed incarcerated individuals who participate in CI have a lower rate of institution misconduct in prison. Additionally, the BOP study shows prisoners with a lower rate of misconduct in prison have a lower recidivism rate.

There are many soft skills that are valued by employers. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Basic writing, grammar and math skills
  • Personal integrity
  • Courtesy
  • Positive work ethic
  • Honesty
  • Ability to get along well with others
  • Reliability
  • Willingness to learn
  • Team skills
  • Common sense
  • Eye contact
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Cooperation
  • Punctual
  • Adaptability
  • Good personal appearance
  • Ability to follow rules
  • Self-directed
  • Willingness to be accountable
  • Positive attitude
  • Awareness of how business works
  • Dependability
  • Staying on the job until it is finished
  • Ability to work without close supervision
  • Ability to read and follow instructions
  • Ability to listen
  • Commitment to continued training and learning
  • Good attendance
  • Energetic
  • Work Experience
  • Ability to relate to co-workers in a close environment
  • Willingness to take instruction and responsibility
  • Willingness to go beyond the traditional 8-hour day

Of all the work skills incarcerated individuals learn, soft skills are the most transferable skills.


1. Conduct job readiness assessments

Where possible, CIs should utilize job readiness assessments to inform the incarcerated individual, supervisor and the instructors of the individual’s areas for growth and improvement. Incarcerated individuals should be involved in career development including career and aptitude assessments, career planning, and understand how to get career information and support. These assessments can help identify what soft skills training is needed.

2. Collaborate to maximize soft skills training

Correctional Industries should work with other DOC departments in a collaborative way to support and reinforce skill attainment. Integrated programs can be developed that address soft skills in certificate-based programs by working with correctional education/vocational training. Topics include professional communication, interviewing skills and resume writing. Partner with case management, mental health, chemical dependency and other programming. Collaborate wherever possible to maximize resources and outcomes.

3. Implement a soft skills component

A soft skills component should be a required part of a certificate-based program. Components can be tailored to the individual shop or designed for the CI program. These programs and their components can be developed in-house or “off the shelf” such as Habits of Mind or Thinking for a Change.

4. Develop a reinforcement system for completion of soft skills training

Reward incarcerated individuals for the completion of soft skills training and develop systems which reinforce the acquired skills. For CIs that have graduated pay plans, completion of soft skills training and appropriate integration of the skills can be components required for advancement to higher levels.

5. Develop partnerships

Soft skills programs support the development of personal responsibility that is highly valued by employers. CIs should develop partnerships that reinforce the significance of soft skills training. These include potential employers, community-based and non-profit organizations such as Dress for Success, YWCA, etc.

6. Provide key elements of soft skills training to all staff

All staff should receive soft skills training and model the principles of this training. Training for staff should be relevant, comprehensive and ongoing with structured follow up. CIs can find appropriate programs on various websites such as NIC and NCIA.

7. Provide professional development for lead staff

CIs should ensure identified staff are trained in programs such as NIC’s Evidence-Based Workforce Training Series. This series consists of Employment Retention: Principles and Practices as well as Employment Retention: Criminal Justice System. These programs offer a wide perspective on the skills and attitudes an incarcerated individual must have to be successful as they transition to the community and the world of work.


  • Pre and Post testing and coaching
  • Staff training
  • Conduct reports


National Correctional Industries Association
National Institute of Corrections
Council of State Governments - National Reentry Resource Center
International Labour Office (ILO) Skills for Employment Policy Brief


  • Bradberry, Travis, and Greaves, Jean. Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  • Cissner, Amanda B. and Puffett, Nora K. (2006). Do Batterer Program Length or Approach Affect
  • Completion Rate or Re-Arrest Rates: A Comparison of Outcomes between Defendants Sentenced to Two Batterer Programs in Brooklyn. Center for Court Innovation.
  • Office of Justice Programs. 2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014). U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice.
  • The Conference Board. Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic
  • Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce .
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Wisconsin’s Employability Skills Certificate
  • Implementation Guide


Identify tools currently being used and implement available certificate based programs that address soft skills. This can be done by investigating what other states are doing and by examining National Institute of Corrections’ programs such as:

  • NIC Evidence-Based Workforce Training Series
  • Motivational Interviewing Training
  • Thinking for a Change Training
  • Career Recourse Centers (CRC)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Programs

Habits of Mind(HOM), (Costa and Kallick, 2000)

Suggest using integration models, such as including staff performance objectives for facilitating soft skills development for incarcerated individuals

Provide Certified Technical Skills Training

Provide Certified Technical Skills Training web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 18:12


Certified Technical Skills that lead to professional or trade certifications can be earned by a person to assure their qualifications in performing a job or task. Certifications are portable, evidence-based credentials that measure essential workplace skills and are a reliable predictor of workplace success.

Many certification programs for incarcerated individuals are created, sponsored, or affiliated with the Department of Labor (DOL), professional associations, trade organizations, or private vendors interested in raising standards.

Certification programs can be relatively quick and simple, such as forklift training or long and complex, such as a DOL Apprenticeship or optical certification. Regardless of complexity, best practice certification programs require the same criteria. They should be:

  • Designed to prepare the incarcerated individual for an occupation or occupational area;
  • Knowledge-based; however, the credential should contain a performance based component;
  • Taught by someone with an industry certification or license, or certain number of years of experience in the field;
  • Standardized and graded or monitored independently by a subject matter expert;
  • Recognized by industry, trade, or professional associations


In a Correctional Industries (CI) environment, certification programs prepare incarcerated individuals to work in a specialized trade, both while incarcerated and upon release. Evidence has shown that including certifications on a resume can give formerly incarcerated individuals an advantage over other candidates applying for the same job.

Technical certification programs provide the incarcerated individual with the following:

  • Increased post-release employment opportunities
  • Validation of the attainment of job skills needed for employability
  • Reduction or elimination of employment barriers

Risk factors are identified as barriers to success when reintegrating into the community. Many incarcerated individuals face employment challenges that result from these risk factors. Certified training provides incarcerated individuals with job skills that align with the labor market and offer the incarcerated individual one less barrier to overcome upon release. Technical certifications have standards that are known industry-wide and employers expect that an incarcerated individual has mastered a specific skill level with the completion of a certified training program.

By offering certified technical programs, CIs provide incarcerated individuals with recognized and measured job skills that can be taken into the job market regardless of the geographic region.

Certified technical programs within CI provide a stable workforce, and maximizes industry operations through a well trained workforce. Most importantly, these programs can be tied to the tracking and documentation of recidivism rates and successes. Correctional Industries can provide data that can be easily understood by interested political, business, and community stakeholders.


1. Research labor market information

Research laws that prohibit felons from working in certain occupations. Consult with DOL to determine the current and projected skill and employment needs. DOL can provide current and relevant data to assist in deciding where certification programs will have the greatest impact. Conduct independent research with employers to determine the specific technical skills they are seeking. Consult employers in the geographic areas where incarcerated individuals will be released.

2. Research barriers to success

Collaborate with case management and educational services staff to determine barriers to success that should be addressed in certification programs. This collaboration may include topics such as professional communication, interviewing skills, and resume writing. Correctional Industries should utilize job readiness assessments to inform incarcerated individuals and instructors of areas for growth and improvement.

3. Research industry-wide technical training and certifications

There are many manufacturing programs that can be implemented throughout CI, such as quality or safety programs. Certified instructors from OSHA or other nationally recognized organizations can provide certified training courses to incarcerated individuals. Quality programs such as International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and Lean Manufacturing can be implemented.

4. Identify operations for technical training

Identify operations within your current CI that are suitable for technical skills certification. Research available trainings that offer certifications. Factors to consider when identifying training programs are:

  • Labor market needs
  • Correctional Industry needs
  • Staff capabilities

5. Identify resources

Review resources needed, including funding, equipment, space, and staffing. Identify staff that can provide certified skills training and/or provide tracking, monitoring, and documentation.

6. Pursue partnerships with certification program providers

Partnering organizations will often have published skill/technical curriculums, training and certification programs for instructors, and discounts on services. It is important for CIs to evaluate their partnerships with local, state and national program providers to determine the best matches.

U.S. or local DOL, other federal/state agencies such as OSHA, Department of Education.
There are numerous program providers throughout the United States that work with CIs. It is important going into a partnership to be able to clearly articulate what CIs needs are in order for the partner organization to determine if they have relevant training and services.
Universities, community colleges and technical schools.
Schools and universities are an excellent resource for classroom training and will often provide this training within the prison environment.
Trade and technical organizations.
Nationwide, there are many trade organizations willing to partner with CIs. They see the potential of building a trained workforce. Often, those organizations are seeking individuals who have specialized skill sets.
Labor unions.
Seek partnerships with training counsels of both public and private labor unions to provide apprenticeship training. This first level apprenticeship provides incarcerated individuals with the highest priority level for union employment upon release. Partnerships may also include providing tools or discounted union dues upon release.
Vendors for technical equipment training.
Vendors offer training as part of equipment purchasing costs and raw material education. Incarcerated individuals can attend this training and receive certificates. Training webinars offered by vendors are another important resource.
Private industry partners.
The Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) and service providers offer unique training opportunities for incarcerated individuals and often have certification programs already developed.

7. Obtain compliance verification

Compliance may be obtained through audits or assessments such as:

  • Workforce Development Assessments
  • PIECP Assessments
  • ACA Audits
  • Other assessments, i.e. DOL, higher education

In-house Certificates – Many CIs offer certificates of achievement or proficiency. These areas may include stock room clerk, janitor, painter, etc. Document the skills that must be achieved and the number of hours required to create an in-house certificate.


  • Partnerships created
  • Hours of technical training provided
  • Incarcerated individuals enrolled in certified technical training
  • Certificates awarded
  • Certifications earned
  • Incarcerated individuals securing employment within 90 days of release




ACA Standards
Association for Linen Management Certification Programs
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Training and Certification
Education and Vocational Training in Prisons Reduces Recidivism, Improves Job Outlook
Franklin Apprenticeships
National Certification for the Blind – Braille Certification
National Institute of Corrections
National Institute of Corrections – Offender Workforce Development Specialist
OSHA Forklift Training Information
US Department of Labor Apprenticeship Programs
WorkforceGPS – Free Resources for Apprenticeship & Work-based Learning
Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks


Choices , Bridges Transition.

A self-paced computer program utilized to educate and aid in choosing between various occupations, jobs, and work potentially available. The Choices program provides the information necessary for the student to make informed decisions about their career and transition planning.

Job Readiness Assessments

The following is a list of available resources; this is not meant to be an endorsement of any one product. All products may be found online.

Job Search Knowledge Scale (JSKS), John J. Liptak, Ed.D*

JSKS helps determine how much an individual knows about looking for work to discover the job search skills they need to develop to find work faster. The JSKS offers guidance on the job search methods that work best and provides journaling space to establish job search goals.

The Job Search Attitude Inventory (JSAI), John J. Liptak, Ed.D.*

A 40-item inventory designed to make job seekers more aware of their self-directed and other-directed attitudes about their search for employment.

*This Triadic Job Search Model utilizes the three assessments to help all individuals understand all of the factors that contribute to job search and success, including attitudes toward the job search and knowledge of job searches.

Harrington-O’Shea Career Decision Maker System Revised (CDM-R), Arthur J. O’Shea, PhD, Rich Feller, PhD. Assesses occupational interests, values and abilities and matches these dimensions to career options.

Mechanism for Tracking Process/Progress

The DOL can be a partner in tracking the process and progress of the successful employment of incarcerated individuals, once they return to the community. If given the names and identification numbers of individuals, the DOL is able to track and report employment history once incarcerated individuals re-enter the job market.

Work Keys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs.

Maximize Job Opportunities for Incarcerated Individuals

Maximize Job Opportunities for Incarcerated Individuals web_admin Fri, 12/17/2021 - 18:32


Correctional Industry (CI) programs offer a system that promotes the learning, development of skills, values, behaviors and motivation for incarcerated individuals to make changes in their lives that assist them in a successful transition into the community. CI programs accomplish this through the context of work.

In an effort to take full advantage of the impact of industry programming, the maximization of job opportunities for incarcerated individuals is critical in assisting a correctional organization with its reentry initiatives. This is accomplished using a systems approach that includes the strategic evaluation of resources and programming resulting in a comprehensive plan.

A key to sustainable growth is maximizing job opportunities for incarcerated individuals. The process of achieving sustainable growth includes the evaluation of current and future operations, the identification of long term goals, and the strategies to reach those goals.


Criminogenic risk factors encompass personal, interpersonal and environmental issues that have the potential to contribute to criminal and antisocial behavior. Addressing criminogenic risk factors correlates to a reduction in recidivism. As discussed in the Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies Whitepaper, by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, criminogenic risk factors such as antisocial attitudes, beliefs, peers, and personality patterns clearly affect how someone might perform in the workplace. The inability to gain and maintain employment is considered a criminogenic risk factor.

Incarcerated individuals seeking to enter the job market upon release must be prepared with both technical and soft skills. Ideally, technical skills should be transferable to the current job market. Soft skills are also critical to gain and retain employment as they are behavioral in nature and include factors such as attitude, work ethic, and communication skills. Maximizing job opportunities for incarcerated individuals ensures a larger number of incarcerated individuals are provided opportunities to learn technical and soft skills and gain experience working, thereby increasing the percent of released incarcerated individuals prepared for work.

Studies show that incarcerated individuals involved in CI programming have a lower rate of recidivism than those who do not participate. The overall impact of maximizing job opportunities for incarcerated individuals will be a decrease in the overall recidivism rate.

Research conducted by the Council of State Government’s Reentry Policy Council reports that reduced idleness leads to reduced violence within correctional facilities. Participation in CI programming gives incarcerated individuals an incentive for good behavior, remain free of infractions and actively engage in other programming opportunities.

Research by the Council also states that participants in work programs are more likely to be employed following release and to have higher earnings than non-participants. Incarcerated individuals working for CI have a better chance to find meaningful real-world employment and are less likely to commit new crimes after release than those without CI experience. Ultimately this makes our communities safer.

Maximizing job opportunities in Correctional Industries programs offers benefits which may include:

Assisting with overall prison management through supervision and program participation that requires higher standards of conduct and saves programming costs.

Lowering recidivism through CI program participation increases public safety, reduces future victimization and saves the citizens tax dollars. Cost Benefit Research conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy concluded that CI programs lower recidivism, reduce criminal justice costs, and saves tax dollars.

Increasing economic activities through administrative and operational expenditures and increased purchases from local suppliers. A Study of the Economic Impact of the California Prison Industry Authority demonstrated that Correctional Industries has a positive economic impact on state economies.

Incarcerated individual earnings allow for payments of legal obligations such as victims’ compensation, mandatory savings, cost of incarceration, child support, court-ordered fines and fees, and other debts.


1. Evaluate the current system and the future potential

a) Business Analysis

In an effort to maximize job opportunities for incarcerated individuals, it is necessary to evaluate the capacities and capabilities of the correctional system as it relates to programming. The following are recommended components of an analysis per location:

  • Space capacity and capability
  • Available and eligible incarcerated workforce
  • Hours/days of access to the worksite(s) –civilians and incarcerated individuals
  • Capability to work multiple shifts – civilians and incarcerated individuals
  • Availability to operate split shifts – Number of available and eligible incarcerated individuals

i. Allowing for Education or other programing to occur while the incarcerated individual continues to work in Correctional Industries.

  • Security considerations and concerns with increasing job opportunities
  • Logistical considerations and concerns with increasing job opportunities

Are there opportunities for capital expansion?

Where possible, encourage private partners to invest in equipment and infrastructure to create additional industries space.

The level of CI worker positions is often in direct correlation to the amount of current business. To increase the number of incarcerated individuals involved in a CI program, it may be necessary to increase business, sales, contracts and partnerships. An analysis of your current business should include:

Key performance indicators such as revenue, net income, CI worker positions, skill sets, etc.

  • Trends in current business
  • Trends in potential future business

Assessment of business by segment (government, PIECP, Service, etc.)

b) Labor Market Analysis

Ongoing labor market analyses is critical to CI long term planning as it provides information for both the evaluation of current and future skill development. The analysis will clearly identify the needed skills for employability after release and potential new business development opportunities.

Technical and soft skill development should remain relevant to the needs of the customer and current job market. Given the rapidly changing nature of the job market, it is imperative that leaders understand, evaluate, and make existing and new business program decisions based upon labor market information and customer needs.

Identifying and evaluating labor market demands may also be a source of new business development opportunities for a CI program. The Department of Labor (DOL) provides information on current data that identifies labor needs. This includes global information such as careers in demand or specific information such as the individual skills that employers are seeking to fill specific positions. National and local labor data and contact information is readily available on the U.S. Department of Labor website. Other sources include manufacturers associations and universities.

Reviewing this information on an annual basis can assist management with long- and short-term planning.

c) Eligibility Criteria for CI Incarcerated Workers

CI programs have varying eligibility criteria for placement into CI worker positions. When assessing the ability to expand the CI workforce, it is necessary to evaluate the current eligibility criteria to determine whether the expansion can be supported and sustained.

2. Establish short and long term goals

Create goals using the data and information collected. Develop a plan to:

  • Continue to build on and expands the soft and technical skill sets
  • Expand programming opportunities by maximizing available resources
  • Expand current Joint Venture Partners
  • Recruit and retain new business opportunities which focus on the skill sets identified in the labor market information as areas of future growth
  • Expand current sales, generating increased volume resulting in additional positions
  • Identify business opportunities that will assist with financial sustainability

3. Develop strategies to increase work opportunities

There are numerous strategies to increase work opportunities. The following strategies can be used as an integrated approach to maximizing the positions available:

a) Expand current markets and develop new markets to increase the number of job opportunities for incarcerated individuals.

  • Private sector partnerships – PIECP or Service Industries
  • Encourage current partners to expand
  • Actively seek new partners
  • Network with current partners
  • Network with community leaders and organizations
  • Communicate with businesses. Many times CI can help local business meet their production needs.
  • Expand current product sales and product offerings

Balance business unit portfolio to train the greatest number of incarcerated individuals while remaining financially sustainable (Refer to the Financial Sustainability Best Practice)

  • Seek grant opportunities

b) Provide educational programming to expand service levels. This will allow a CI program to expand the number served through offering split schedules, i.e. half-day production, half-day classroom. Target the development of skill sets relevant to current market needs through:

  • Certifications, Technical and Soft Skills
  • Apprenticeships
  • Trades Programs
  • Higher Education

c) Additional Opportunities for Increased Numbers of CI Incarcerated Worker Positions:

Job Sharing (two incarcerated individuals working part time in one position)

Limit time an incarcerated individual works in the program through the adoption of a “graduate” performance completion mastery system. Skills should be developed as close as possible to release to maximize their relevance to potential employers in the community.


Eligible incarcerated population served

  • CI incarcerated worker positions
  • Program completion
  • Recidivism rate




ACA Standards
Corrections – Workforce Partnership & Prison to Employment
National Manufacturers Association
National Institute of Corrections - Achieving Performance Excellence (APEX)
State Recidivism Studies located on NCIA Website


National and State-Specific LMI - The Labor Market Information Institute

Labor Market Information Worksheet

This document is a guide for evaluating labor market supply and demand factors for a particular occupational title in your state and local region. It can be used by the probation, correction, correctional industry, parole, community based and faith-based agencies to explore the feasibility of implementing a prison-based training program or a post-release training and job placement initiative. Links to state labor market information websites needed to complete the form may be found at:

The form can be found at:

Create a Culture of Employment Readiness and Retention for Incarcerated Individuals

Create a Culture of Employment Readiness and Retention for Incarcerated Individuals web_admin Tue, 12/21/2021 - 09:40


Employment readiness encompasses several areas including soft-skills, cognitive skills and industry-recognized training and certifications employers expect from qualified applicants. Employment readiness/employability pertains to both the offender’s ability to obtain and retain a job. Correctional Industries (CI) programs should focus on both. The ability to gain employment and the ability to retain employment are two very different skill sets the offender must acquire to be successful in the work place. CI work assignments should mirror the community workplace including: job applications, job interviews, orientation (to include workforce expectations and worker engagement), ongoing training, and regular work evaluations, termination for unacceptable performance or conduct, and opportunities for performance-based pay raises. Creating a culture of offender employment readiness and retention includes work readiness assessment conducted at entry, at periodic points during employment and at the end of employment with CI. In addition, every position in CI should be identified by its Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code found at the Department of Labor’s “O*Net” website. This is essential in linking CI work with work in the community and it is the first step in developing a workforce development culture within CI.


An extensive body of research has established that a felony conviction or time in prison makes individuals significantly less employable. It is not simply that individuals who commit crimes are less likely to work in the first place, but rather, that felony convictions or time in prison act independently to lower the employment prospects of ex-offenders. (Ex‐offenders and the Labor Market John Schmitt and Kris Warner November 2010)

Employment can make a strong contribution to recidivism-reduction efforts because it refocuses individuals’ time and efforts on pro-social activities, making them less likely to engage in riskier behaviors and to associate with people who do. Having a job also enables individuals to contribute income to their families, which can generate more personal support, stronger positive relationships, enhanced self-esteem, and improved mental health. For these reasons, employment is often seen as a gateway to becoming and remaining a law-abiding and contributing member of a community. Employment also has important societal benefits, including reduced strain on social service resources contributions to the tax base, and safer, more stable communities. (Integrated Re-entry and Employment, The Council of State Governments Justice Center, Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness, 2013).

Emerging research suggests a connection to employment retention and reduced recidivism. The ability to gain employment and the ability to retain employment are two very different skill sets the offender must acquire to be successful in the work place.

Corrections professionals have a critical mission that includes the goal of ensuring that offenders who leave corrections supervision do not recidivate. Research confirms that employment is a critical component of successful re-entry; creating a culture of offender success through employment readiness is essential. Not only do released offenders need the ability to gain employment, they need to retain employment.

Today’s successful offender employment programs are those that are employer-driven. These programs are supported by, and built on, labor market information. They offer industry-standard training and certifications that meet employers’ expectations, and placements that focus on benefits to employers.

Employers face global competition in their drive to operate successful businesses in today’s marketplace. If the correctional system is to be successful in placing ex-offenders in meaningful employment that meets employers’ expectations, Correctional Industries must create a culture that prepares offenders for gainful attachment to the workforce.

The Council of State Government’s National Reentry Resource Center studies clearly show a link between employment and reduction in recidivism. The ex-offenders’ ability to gain and retain employment is an important factor in reducing recidivism as 85% - 89% of ex-offenders rearrested are unemployed at time of re-arrest. An unemployed ex-offender is three times more likely to return to prison than an employed ex-offender. A 1996 study in New York State showed that 89 percent of parole and probation violators were unemployed at the time of re-arrest. (Source: Texas Department of Justice, 1990 and State of New York Department of Labor, 1996)

Creating a culture of offender success through employment readiness goes hand in hand with ex-offender employability and job retention. Additionally, Correctional Industries will benefit by offenders who have developed a culture of offender success through employment readiness, creating a competitive environment that emulates good operations practices. The Federal Bureau of Prisons studies show offenders who have participated in CI have a lower rate of institutional misconduct in prison.

FBOP studies show prisoners with a lower rate of misconduct in prison have a lower recidivism rate. Recidivism studies in fifteen states show reduced recidivism for offenders who participate in correctional industries – AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IA, LA, MD, MN, MT, NC, OK, TN, VT, WA.


  1. Ensure building lives versus building products is the focus of the CI organization.
    There must be a change in the focus of the CI organization from making products to building lives. Correctional Industries’ mission, vision and values must support a culture of offender success through employment readiness.
  2. Support a culture of offender success through employment readiness.
    Career focused reentry can prepare offenders for employment and job retention, with an emphasis on soft-skills and industry-standard training and certifications that will meet employers’ expectations for qualified applicants. Additionally criminogenic risks need to be identified and addressed for the released offender to be employment ready and employable.
  1. Incorporate cognitive behavioral principles with motivational interviewing techniques in CI operations.
    These can be an important component impacting employment readiness and retention. Programs and best practices for CBT and MI can be implemented or reinforced in CI operations and involve staff at all levels.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a communication style designed to help a person reduce ambivalence about a lifestyle or behavior change.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) is a type of process that explores the relationship between thoughts, values and behaviors.

  1. Incorporate cognitive behavioral principles with motivational interviewing techniques in CI operations.
    These can be an important component impacting employment readiness and retention. Programs and best practices for CBT and MI can be implemented or reinforced in CI operations and involve staff at all levels.
  2. Use the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code to identify each offender position used in CI.

    The 2010 SOC system is used to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 840 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form 461 broad occupations, 97 minor groups, and 23 major groups. Detailed occupations in the SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training, are grouped together. The SOC code can be found at:

    The O*Net program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*Net database which contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation specific descriptors. SOC codes and O*Net are the primary system and language used by Workforce Development Professionals both locally and nationwide. It provides the ability to clearly understand what an offender did while assigned to CI.

  3. Provide ongoing professional development to CI Staff.
    Correctional Industries needs to become a “Learning Organization” focusing on talent management and development. A learning organization makes it a priority to engage its entire workforce on continuing education paths that support both personal and professional development. There is a focus on self-awareness so individuals identify their areas of strengths and opportunities for improvement with their supervisors. This should also be supported by a performance management system that is relevant, timely and supports the culture that is necessary to meet the goal of employment readiness for the offenders served in the program. CI Staff need to be trained to be leaders, mentors, teachers, coaches and role models. CI staff should be trained to offer, utilize and demonstrate, through modeling, critical thinking skills when interacting with offender workers. CIs should implement evidence-based training and ongoing professional coaching for staff to enable them to be effective in their roles.
  4. Provide meaningful job training by emulating the private sector workplace in work assignments.

    Correctional Industries should set clear metrics for work goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART). These should be accompanied by a system of rewards and recognition for accomplishment. Jobs should mirror the community workplace including: applications, interviews, orientation (to include workforce expectations and worker engagement), regular work evaluations, pay increases, termination for unacceptable performance and opportunities for performance-based pay. Correctional Industries should teach and reinforce work ethic principles including daily attendance, punctuality, quality, productivity, team work, communication skills, the ability to take direction from a supervisor, and adherence to health and safety guidelines. (For more information, refer to the Replicate Private Industry Environment best practice.)

    Offenders need to understand that Safety and Security are important to businesses they will work for after release. Employers cannot afford employee accidents (safety) as well as security issues (people who do not work in the building prohibited from entering unless escorted, security of inventory and property, etc.)

    Studies indicate that offenders working in Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) programs have single digit recidivism rate.

  5. Develop time management skills.
    Time management skills are essential for offenders who transition from an institutional environment where most decisions were made for them, into a world where they immediately become the decision-makers. Development of these skills must begin well before time of release. Time management training helps offenders plan for a productive and balanced use of personal time, which supports success on the job after release.
  6. Utilize journey workers as on-the-job trainers.
    A journey worker is someone who is advanced beyond being an apprentice. The use of trained offender journey workers as on-the-job trainers saves costs and provides excellent skill-building opportunities for the journey worker and other offenders. The use of journey workers helps multiply and enhance the training CI staff can provide offender workers.
  7. Assist offenders with networking.
    Networking for employment leads is often a new concept for many offenders who need coaching on how to best utilize their social contacts for job leads. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Offenders need to learn to keep in touch, and tell everyone they are looking for a job. Offenders need to explore ways such as mock job fairs and transition resource fairs to teach networking skills while incarcerated.

  8. Partner with workforce development agencies.
    Partner with Workforce Development and One-Stop Career Centers as a potential source of job readiness training, pre-release job readiness programming and ongoing support services for offenders post release. Additionally, some Chambers of Commerce and small business organizations have programs or networking to provide ex-offenders leads and job opportunities. (For more information, refer to Provide Post-Release Employment Services best practice.)
  9. Provide credentials to demonstrate employability.
    Provide credentials to validate Correctional Industry work history including: Department of Labor (DOL) Apprenticeships, trade association certifications, Industry standard certifications such as; Association for Linen Management, American Board of Opticianary, American Welding Society, OSHA safety certifications and specific skill certifications (i.e. fork-lift certification), etc. (For more information, refer to ‘Provide Certified Technical Skills’ and ‘Implement Certificate Based Soft Skills Training’ best practices.) When external credentials are not available, CI should develop an internal offender certificate of participation or proficiency. Internal documentation of an offenders CI work history is an important motivational tool during incarceration and post-release. Documentation should include number of hours worked in a specific SOC code and include written criteria for areas like performance, attitude, safety and teamwork. Absent of external certifications this may be the only record of an offenders participation in CI while incarcerated.
  10. Develop Career Resource Centers.
    Career Resource Centers, facilitated by offender clerks, support career exploration and improve offender employment outcomes. These Centers help transform offender thinking to a career mindset. A Career Resource Center emerging strategy is to provide internet accessibility. Resources are available through NIC at no cost.
  1. Assign and develop staff to build business relationships.
    Correctional Industries should assign and train staff to develop business connections with employers. Developing working relationships with business executives, company CEOs and HR professionals creates a favorable environment for employing offenders in the future. Developing both formal and informal relationships with members of the business community furthers the professional partnership. Invite employers to visit, tour your operations and conduct mock interviews.
  1. Develop training programs based on Labor Market Information (LMI).
    Develop training programs based on employers’ needs using LMI available through the State Department of Labor. If Correctional Industries do not stay abreast of occupational trends, the training CIs offer may not meet the needs of the local business; this will result in released offenders not being employment-ready. It is best to frequently check this information with industry leaders in local communities to determine if state-wide or local events are having an unexpected impact on occupational trends. Whenever possible, collaborate with corrections education/vocational training, technology schools and state manufacturing organizations for training programs that fit the needs of Correctional Industries and the occupational trends.
  2. Invite employers to serve on advisory boards and committees.
    Employers know the traits and factors that support job readiness. Agencies that invite employers to serve on advisory boards and committees often report closer working relationships with the business community. These employers bring real work perspectives to the discussion and to the decisions made by advisory boards and committees.
  3. Obtain compliance verification in conjunction with the Department of Corrections or through external sources.
    • Workforce Development Assessments
    • Security Audits
    • Safety and Environmental Audits
    • PIE Assessments
    • ACA Audits
    • Other assessments, i.e. DOL, education, ISO


  • Offender Engagement Surveys
  • Employee (Staff) Engagement Surveys
  • Organizational Culture Inventory





National Institute of Corrections’ programs such as The Employer-Driven Model and Toolkit, Offender Employment Specialist Training, Offender Employment Retention, Principles and Practices and Evidence-Based Practices in a Correctional Setting, Offender Workforce Development Specialist Training, Motivational Interviewing Training, Thinking for a Change Training and Career Recourse Centers (CRC)

Organizational Culture Inventory - measuring organizational culture

CI Models with Data to Support Success

Indiana - Career Development Training (Based on NIC’s Career Resource Center) where offenders learn about careers, cognitive based approach to career/life planning resulting in long-term career plan development. Florida similarly has implemented NIC’s based Career Recourse Centers.

Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) and state recidivism studies show a reduction in recidivism for those offenders who participate in CI programming. FBOP’s Prep Study shows ex-offenders who worked in UNICOR are 24% less likely to recidivate.
Recidivism studies in fifteen states show reduced recidivism for offenders who participate in correctional industries – AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, IA, LA, MD, MN, MT, NC, OK, TN, VT, WA.

Provide Post-Release Employment Services

Provide Post-Release Employment Services web_admin Tue, 12/21/2021 - 10:09


Post-release employment services connect incarcerated individuals who were trained in Correctional Industries (CI) to long-term employment. While working with CI, incarcerated individuals have the opportunity to be engaged in activities in order to promote retention, help with re-employment in the event of job loss, and assist with advancement opportunities after release.

The goal of post-release employment services is ultimately to reduce recidivism. The approach is as follows:

  • To increase employment opportunities available to CI-trained individuals who are trying to successfully reintegrate and remain crime-free by gaining and retaining employment
  • To encourage employers to make individualized determinations about a person’s specific qualifications, including the relevance of a criminal record, rather than having restrictions or bans against hiring people with criminal records


Research has shown that previously incarcerated individuals have a high risk of unemployment and that an association exists between adult incarceration, unemployment, and recidivism (Andrews 1995; Bouffard, et al, 2000). Additionally, incarcerated individuals themselves consider that securing employment is important to maintaining a crime free existence upon release (Visher et al. 2006).

People with criminal records are often considered a subgroup of the hard-to-employ population because felony convictions can create significant barriers to employment. Statutory limitations on accessing particular professions, employer reluctance to hire individuals with criminal records, and logistical issues resulting from the terms of an individual’s release or supervision are often circumstances these individuals face when looking for career choices and employment.

According to a survey of practitioners conducted by the National Institute of Correction’s Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement, the most significant job retention factors consist of: matching jobs with the individuals’ skills and interests, level of social and problem solving skills, and the job seeker having realistic work expectations (2001).

Correctional Industries are exceptionally well positioned to address risk factors due to the culture of the population coming through their door. CI provides an authentic work and pro-social environment that counters negative peer influences and the amount of time individuals spend engaged in antisocial activities while incarcerated. Addressing risk-related attitudes and behaviors help reduce violence in prison, keep individuals from participating in potentially unproductive prison behavior, reduce individuals returning to prisons and jails, and make program participants more employable. These mutually reinforcing benefits underscore the value of developing an approach for working with individuals with criminal histories that integrate best practices from the workforce development and corrections fields.

Post release employment can make a strong contribution to recidivism reduction efforts because it refocuses individuals’ time and efforts on pro-social activities, making them less likely to engage in risky behaviors or associating with people who do. Having a job enables individuals to contribute income to their families which can generate more personal support, stronger positive relationships, enhanced self-esteem, and improved mental health. For these reasons, employment is often seen as a gateway to becoming and remaining a law-abiding and a valuable member of a community. Employment also has important societal benefits including reduced strain on social service resources, greater contributions to the economy and tax base, and safer, more stable communities.


1. Brand your job placement program

Creating a brand will help market your program and objectives. Your brand should focus on dispelling negative stereotypes of previously incarcerated individuals with language, images and information that are positive and reassuring.

  1. Create marketing material to include brochures, videos, business cards, website, etc. Seek testimonials from satisfied businesses, employers, and supportive community leaders.
  2. Educate local media so they can share CI job training and programs, released individual success stories, and valued employer partnerships.
  3. Present the CI program to governmental agencies, civic organizations, Better Business Bureaus, churches, local community organizations, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and not-for-profits involved with Reentry.
  4. Enlist the support of community, successful program participants, support services agencies and faith-based organizations in developing campaigns to promote employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

2. Market employment opportunities for previously incarcerated individuals trained through Correctional Industries

Determine which industries and employers are willing to hire people with criminal records and encourage job development and placement in those sectors. Broaden opportunities based on individual career goals by expanding the knowledge and understanding for specific employers not limited to known “Fair Chance” employers.

  • Reach out to employers and educate them on financial incentives, (Federal Bonding Program, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and Welfare to Work), technical and soft skills provided by CI, and social and financial benefits to the state of reducing recidivism through employment opportunities.
  • Promote flexible employer decisions about hiring previously incarcerated individuals

Ask employers to pilot the hiring of a limited number of previously incarcerated individuals trained by CI.

  • Promote collaboration with work-release programs as a transition between work inside the prison and work in the community.
  • Promote post-release hiring with Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) and non-PIECP partners
  • Promote participation in job fairs

3. Create meaningful partnerships

  • Work with Community Corrections to encourage the employment and retention of previously incarcerated individuals. Address any internal Department of Corrections policies that may discourage companies employing incarcerated individuals, such as frequency of workplace visits or the visibility of firearms and search procedures when supervising officers visit the workplace.
  • Align with post release transitional work programs to include, non-profit, volunteer and community service organizations where participants can gain additional training and work experience.
  • Collaborate with local WorkSource Centers, community colleges, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division of Social Services, Social Security Administration, and/or Workforce Investment Boards for employment-related services.
  • Engage volunteers from the community to act as intermediaries between CI Job training programs, employers, and previously incarcerated individuals.
  • Develop volunteers as mentors who help prepare individuals in developing a resume, searching for appropriate jobs, completing the application process, and conducting mock interviews. There are many non-profit organizations involved in incarcerated individual reentry that can provide these valuable services.
  • Involve the business community in the CI program. This gives the employers more information about a trained workforce and how to access it. This can be accomplished through:
    • Inviting employers to speak to staff, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, and board members
    • Participating in employer forums, workgroups, meetings, mock interviews, job fairs, and employment events.
    • Inviting employers to tour CI facilities and observe operations to see the training first-hand.

An example of a partner with mutually beneficial collaboration is the Workforce Development Partnership Training Program (WDPTP). In this program, multidisciplinary teams are provided with competency-based training and each team is committed to completing a workforce development project of benefit to their community. Several WDPTP teams were initiated by Correctional Industries programs and the training was credited with strengthening ties between correctional agencies, community partners and local businesses, both large and small.

4. Provide post-release transition planning

To create an individualized release plan, the following steps should be considered:

  • Review risk/needs assessments
  • Review job placement opportunities for incarcerated individuals including special populations
  • Develop an employment-based transition plan
  • Review internal DOC policies and work with individuals and transitional partners to facilitate job searches

Encourage employers to meet with prospective employees through visits, mock interview fairs, via phone calls, or multi-media conferences before the individual is released

5. Review employment laws

  • Research employment laws in your state. There are usually a number of laws that govern the employment of people with criminal records.
  • Research occupational licensure and certificate requirements

6. Obtain compliance verification.

Compliance may be obtained through audits or assessments such as:

  • Workforce Development Assessments
  • Security Audits
  • Safety and Environmental Audits
  • PIECP Assessments
  • ACA Audits
  • Other assessments, i.e. DOL, education, ISO


  • Earnings rates
  • Entered employment (number of released CI workers who are employed in the first quarter post-release)
  • Time to employment (number of days)
  • Employment retention (Number of CI workers who are still employed in the second and third quarters after release)
  • Increased earnings
  • Job placement rates
  • Job retention rates
  • Employment partnerships created and sustained
  • Recidivism rate 



  • Andrews, D. The Psychology of Criminal Conduct and Effective Treatment. What Works: Reducing Recidivism, 1995. 
  • Angel, D., Harney, E. (1997). No One is Unemployable: Creative Solutions for Overcoming Barriers for Employment. Pasadena, CA: Worknet Training Services.
  • Blakely, L. (2010, Oct. 6). Why I Hire Former Convicts and Gang Members .
  • Bushway, Shawn, and Apel, Robert. “A Signaling Perspective on Employment-Based Reentry Programming,” 2012 American Society of Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 11, Issue 1.
  • Bushway, S., and P. Reuter. “Labor Markets and Crime Risk Factors Chapter 6 in L.S. Sherman, D. Gottfredson, D. MacKenzie, J. Eck, P. Reuter, and S. Bushway, Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 1997), pp. 6–17.
  • Council of State Government’s Justice Center. (2013). Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness
  • Houston, M., ‘ A Report from the Office of Correctional Job Training and Placement, National
  • Institute of Corrections, 2001.
  • Latessa, E. (2012). Why Work is Important and How to Improve the Effectiveness of Correctional Reentry Programs That Target Employment. American Society of Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, 11 (1).
  • Menon, R., C. Blakely, D. Carmichael, L. Silver. An Evaluation of Project RIO Outcomes: An Evaluative Report. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University, Public Policy Resources Laboratory.
  • Rollo, N. (1988) Ninety-Nine Days and a Wake Up: A Post Release (2 nd Ed.). Garland, TX: Open, Inc.
  • Taylor, P. Elizabeth (2010). Employment Retention: A Question of Public Safety. Corrections
  • Today. American Correctional Association.
  • U.S. Department of Justice. 2010. Career Resource Centers: An Emerging Strategy of Improving Offender Employment Outcomes. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  • U.S. Department of Justice. 2010. How to Build Partnerships with Employers and Market Offender Workforce Development Initiatives. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections.
  • U.S. Department of Labor. Veterans Incarcerated Workbook. Washington, DC: Veterans’ Employment and Training Service/Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program.

Funded by the Second Chance Act of 2008, and launched by the Council of State Governments Justice Center in 2009, the National Reentry Resource Center provides education, training, and technical assistance to states, tribes, territories, local governments, service providers, non-profit organizations, and corrections institutions.
Re-entry Myth Busters
After Prison: Roadblocks to Reentry
Excellent website to purchase books and pamphlets directed at reentry
Paradigm Education has a selection of books and videos on career and job search topics.


Federal Bonding Program
Labor Market Information
Given the rapidly changing nature of the job market, correctional industry directors must have an understanding of labor market information, and know how to access and use Labor Market (LMI) resources in support of their program’s objectives. LMI is essential for identifying industries in demand and developing relationships with employers. While LMI is very useful, it is extremely perishable. What was true yesterday may not be true today. Labor Market Information Worksheet developed by the National Institute of Correction website provides step-by-step guidance with links to relevant websites.
One Stop Career Centers
One-Stop Career Centers provide a variety of no-cost services to job-seekers which are intended to prepare them for the world of work; find suitable job openings; increase occupational skills; increase earnings; and promote job retention. The centers provide core services which are intended to help persons become employed as quickly as possible. These include job search and placement assistance and labor market information. For those who are unable to find a job through core services or need additional help to become self-sustaining, the centers provide intensive services such as counseling and career planning, comprehensive assessments, and development of individual employment plans. Centers also provide support services such as transportation, childcare, house and needs related payments. Call toll-free 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627)
National and State Specific Labor Market Information
Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Maintain Highest Level of Security Practices

Maintain Highest Level of Security Practices web_admin Tue, 12/21/2021 - 10:30


Sound security policies provide standardized procedures for a variety of security systems that, when properly utilized, are designed to minimize vulnerabilities in the workplace. Maintaining the highest level of these practices in a Correctional Industries (CI) setting helps to create an environment that safeguards the life, health, and personal safety of staff, offenders and the public while at the same time providing the necessary education, work, and rehabilitative opportunities that enable an offender to be productive while incarcerated and prepare for successful reentry to the community.

Security practices in a CI encompass policies and procedures that are in alignment with the institution’s policies and procedures. A collaborative environment with open communication between CI and the institution is integral to implementing security and personal safety procedures. CIs with the strongest security practices create a culture that understands and prioritizes the importance of security and programming to run an effective, safe, secure and productive correctional industry program within an institution.


The CI workplace differs from the typical workplace in that the operation exists in a correctional environment and the workforce is made up of civilian staff and offenders. It is imperative that the overall security operations have open channels of communication and a continuity between CI and the institution, creating a well-balanced ‘security and personal safety mindset’ for staff and offenders. In a CI environment, security and personal safety remain a top priority, while ensuring production requirements and quality standards are met.

It is essential that CI’s have a robust safety program to protect civilian staff and offenders from workplace accidents and injuries.


Please note that the following best practices may need to be modified by each CI based on departmental regulations, institutional policies and contingent upon other factors including, but not limited, physical plant design, level of security, location of plant, level of programs, cost of implementation and state/local statutes. The following best practices have been shown by research and/or experience to produce optimal results for CI programs, however, it is recognized that not all-practices cited can be implemented throughout all CI shops.

1. Follow Sound Security Control Policies

Policies and procedures are necessary to ensure strict security practices. In addition to standard operating procedures, CI safety and security policies must follow the institution’s policies and departmental procedures. Shop-specific policies should be developed in cooperation with the institutional security staff, as applicable. If a policy or procedure is restricted, staff must ensure that it is not distributed to the public or offenders. Unrestricted policies should be distributed to staff and offenders to ensure that they are understood and followed. Policies should be reviewed annually.

a. Tool Control Policies – should ensure proper classification, control and accountability for all tools. Tools are typically classified in groups that identify their potential to cause major bodily harm, effect an escape or facilitate a security risk. These classifications utilize a scoring system, such as A, B or C or I, II or III. These classifications also identify which custody level, offender, or program can use which tools with or without direct supervision.

A tool control officer or other staff should be assigned to the program with responsibility for:

  • Maintaining a master inventory and sub inventories of individual tool boards, boxes, cabinets, vehicle tool kits, etc.
  • Receipt of new tools and disposal of worn-out/broken/excess tools, ensuring there are safeguards to prevent delivery of tools throughout the institution.

Tools maintained within the shop should be limited to those used on a weekly basis. Seldom-used tools should be inventoried and kept in a secure location.

At a minimum, supervising staff should inventory tools at the beginning and end of all shifts. Security staff should conduct a full audit and comprehensive review of the tool room not less than every six months.

All contractors and temporary staff working inside the shop should receive written instructions outlining their responsibilities regarding tool control. In addition, their tools should be inventoried at the beginning and end of each work day, or as required by institutional policy.

b. Key Control Policies – should provide control and accountability for all keys and locking systems and establish key control and inventory procedures that restrict distribution. Policy should also include procedures for loss, breakage and failure to return keys. Keys to all areas within the CI should be readily available by custody in the event of an emergency.

A key control officer or other staff should be assigned to the program with responsibility for:

  • Maintaining a key inventory
  • Issuing keys to staff depending on their area of responsibility
  • Controlling and maintaining locking devices

Daily operational keys should be issued from a secure control system (staffed or mechanical) and be required to be turned in daily. Security keys should never leave the institution and all keys should be accounted for at the beginning and end of each shift. Security keys should never be handled by offenders.

NIC recommends staff not carry personal keys in their possession and that a procedure for the storage of personal staff keys be developed. CIs should participate in an institutional policy review regarding the storage of personal keys to see if these recommendations can be implemented.

c. Chemical Control Policies – should ensure that all hazardous and/or caustic materials are kept in a separate storage area and locked at all times. A perpetual inventory should be maintained and materials should be issued only by designated staff.

Chemicals should only be issued to offenders in the quantity required to accomplish the immediate task. Unused chemicals should not be allowed in work areas at the end of the workday and should be inventoried and secured before offenders leave the work area. Label all hazardous material containers/dispensers to identify contents. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) should be maintained and available for all hazardous materials.

d. Contraband Control – CI’s should be trained in and follow institutional policies on identification, search and disposal of contraband. Policies regarding allowable items for offenders to have in the shop should be understood by CI staff. Custody and CI staff should be diligent in performing constant checks for contraband, particularly in industries with high rates of availability to receive and distribute contraband. CI staff should be accountable for approved personal items brought on site and maintain control of those items.

  • All contractors working inside the CI shop should receive written instructions outlining their responsibilities regarding contraband control.
  • Offender workers should not have access to staff uniforms or personal clothing at any time. Officer uniforms should be issued from a location outside of the CI shop. Where uniforms are manufactured in a CI shop, offenders should never have access to a completed uniform. CI supervisors and staff should wear clothing that distinguishes them from offender workers.

2. Define Policy for Offender Assignment and Behavior

Most offenders who work in CI have access to tools, manufacturing equipment and/or warehousing/trucking equipment. Proper offender assignment to CI is an important security factor. Work with the institution to define policies for identifying and screening offenders for CI programs through classification, institutional behavior, group compliance, educational completion, etc.

  1. Written Procedures – Institutional assignment procedures should define who is eligible to work in CI based on institutional policy and set minimum standards. Standards ensure offenders have maintained acceptable behavior over a set period of time, as well as a commitment to bettering themselves.
  2. Screening – Institutional risk reviews should be conducted prior to program assignment. The screening process should include criminal history, victimology, history of violence, infraction behavior, medical/mental health concerns, documented behavior observations and gang affiliation.
  3. Offender Behavior Agreement/Contract – Offenders working or training in CI should sign an Offender Behavior Agreement. This provides offenders with clear expectations and standards of behavior necessary to retain their job.
  4. Allowable items – CI shops should clearly define allowable items for offenders. The list should be reviewed and updated annually by the institution. This sets expectations for a professional and uncluttered work environment, promotes effective searches and helps reduce contraband.

3. Promote Staff and Offender Personal Safety

Continuing education, training, coaching and modeling ensure staff are exposed to the knowledge and tools necessary to provide the highest level of personal safety and security in the CI setting. The American Correctional Association (ACA) recommends 120 hours of pre-service training and an additional 80 hours of job specific training. Safety and security training should be ongoing and frequent.

  1. Safety programs are developed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for all staff and offenders. The program should provide detailed information on the following:
    • Protecting staff and offenders from job-related injuries and health impairment
    • Preventing accidents and fires
    • Planning for emergencies and emergency medical procedures
    • Identifying and controlling physical, chemical, and biological hazards in the workplace
    • Communicating potential hazards to staff and offenders
    • Assuring adequate housekeeping and sanitation
  2. In addition to the policies, procedures and practices identified above, CI staff should be trained in:
    • Offender manipulation, staff complacency and overfamiliarity with offenders.
    • Situational Awareness
      • Remaining alert and aware of the environment around them
      • Identifying what constitutes irregular behavior and warning signs of offender disturbances
    • Effective communication with offenders such as utilizing motivational interviewing techniques.
  3. Staff Equipment – Provide staff with necessary safety equipment to supervise offenders. This will be institution or state specific and may include radios, panic buttons, pepper spray, and others.
    • CI Staff should have radios programmed with a personal safety feature and tied into the institution’s personal alarm notification system.
    • Plants should have a public address system for mass communications, as applicable.
    • CI staff should be issued a personal alarm.
  4. Offender Training – Ensure that offenders receive basic safety training prior to being allowed to work on the shop floor. Training should include hazardous workplace identification and reporting and mandatory training modules (i.e. personal protective equipment (PPE), fire extinguisher, blood borne pathogens, etc.). Safety training on specific equipment should occur prior to operation. Safety awareness training should be conducted frequently.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Staff and offenders should be provided the necessary safety equipment for all assignments.
  6. Safety Inspections - Staff should conduct comprehensive, documented safety inspections. An inspector (non-shop staff) should perform a safety audit. Violations posing an imminent threat should be corrected immediately. A plan should be developed to mitigate other documented deficiencies within 30 days.
  7. Staff Accountability – Maintain compliance with institutional staff accountability procedures.
  8. Implement Sound Occupational Health and Safety Programs – It is mandatory that CI’s have a robust safety program to protect staff and offenders. CI’s are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace and must comply with all applicable safety standards.

    All staff are responsible to conduct their work in a safe manner, make recommendations to improve safety and health, notify supervisors of any accident involving injury, illness or near-miss. Participate in safety awareness training weekly and formal safety refresher training semi-annually.
  9. Safe Staffing Models – The process for determining adequate staffing for a CI shop should consider physical plant design, level of security, location of plant, level of programs and activities, equipment/tools used, and state and local standards and statutes to recommend a specific officer and CI staff-to-offender ratio.

4. Set Standards for Offender Counts and Controlled Movement

  1. Counts – Offenders should be accounted for at all times. Per institutional policies and procedures, official and unofficial counts are required at set intervals during the day. In addition, situational (unofficial) counts are taken as circumstances dictate. Report and document unaccounted-for offenders immediately.
  2. CI programs may institute additional counts based on staff to offender ratio, custody level and the nature of the work or training. Many CIs have outside work crews. The general location of all outside work crews should be known by the supervisor and institution’s control center at all times. Official and unofficial count times may still apply. Staff supervising outside work crews should have a current picture ID of each offender, assigned to their supervision, with them whenever they are out of the institution.
  3. Defined Areas/Controlled Movement – Develop procedures to define all access areas for offenders, as well as prohibited access. Post clear signage limiting access to restricted areas. For larger shops, clearly state defined areas in procedures and offender job descriptions. Document and report offenders outside of assigned areas.
  4. Staff Escorts – Develop procedures for offenders leaving the CI shop location outside of normal movement. Ensure that offenders are formally turned over to the appropriate staff prior to leaving the shop or when they arrive at the unit/pod, depending on institutional policy, and that the offender location is updated upon arrival and departure.

5. Develop Offender Entry/Exit Procedures

  1. Check-in/out Procedures – Offenders arriving at or leaving a work location should be checked in/out with a photo ID, work roster verification or electronic scanning.
  2. Searches – CI staff should be trained in the proper method to perform routine searches of offenders whenever entering or departing their work area in compliance with Institutional policy and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) guidelines. Written policy should clearly state the frequency of these searches and define gender-specific search procedures.
  3. Metal Detectors – Metal detectors should be used in shops where feasible.

6. Develop Loading Dock Procedures

Delivery trucks pose a high risk for escape and receipt of contraband. Staff should check all incoming trucks and materials for contraband and order accuracy. Custody and/or CI staff should thoroughly search all outbound trucks. Use of technology such as heartbeat monitors is recommended for high traffic shops.

  1. Supervision - Offenders should be under direct supervision at all times during the loading / unloading process.
  2. Material Search - Staff should conduct a search of all materials upon receipt. The use of an x-ray machine or other technology is recommended for material receipt, where feasible, with the potential for hidden contraband.
  3. Truck Driver Entry/Exit Procedures - All delivery trucks should be subject to search upon entering and exiting the premises or facilities.

7. Conduct Security Checks and Implement Vulnerability Assessments

  1. Conduct Routine Security Checks – In addition to CI policies and procedures regarding key, tool and movement control, routine security checks of all areas by CI staff are essential to providing security within the CI shop.
    • CI supervisors should perform routine checks to ensure that all policies are being enforced. Custody staff should also observe the operation and routinely conduct security checks.
    • CI staff should regularly conduct thorough reviews/searches of all areas of the shop.
    • Develop written procedures for outside work crews. Custody staff and CI management should randomly spot check outside work crews, documenting each contact.
    • Conduct K-9 searches, if available, at each CI shop periodically.
  2. Implement Security/Vulnerability Assessments – Security audits are tools that identify and isolate possible security risks. CI programs should be included in the DOC’s security and performance audits. In addition, a thorough security review of the CI should be conducted in conjunction with the DOC at least annually to review adherence to policies, procedures, standards and best practices. It is imperative that all security deficiencies are corrected timely and refresher training on policy is provided if needed. An audit should identify any weaknesses, deficiencies and areas of vulnerability.
    • Train selected CI staff as security auditors and include them on DOC security auditing team if possible. Utilize them to conduct internal security audits of shops.
    • Create a security inspection instrument for shops in conjunction with the institution.
    • Conduct unannounced security inspections routinely.

8. Practice Emergency Drills

In conjunction with custody staff, CI’s should actively participate in all drills associated with emergency procedures. Practicing drills is important for staff and offender safety in an emergency. Drills are a means of pointing out deficiencies in the plan, testing staff knowledge and equipment, practicing response, and building confidence with staff and offenders. All staff should be trained, prepared and know their responsibilities in the event of a crisis. Types of drills include but may not be limited to: Fire, Man-down, Fight/Riot and Natural Disasters.

9. Review Physical and Working Design of Plant

The layout, design, location within the institution, age and level of maintenance of CI shops have a direct impact on the level of security.

  1. Cameras, Alarms and Mirrors
    • Where possible, cameras and door alarms should be installed throughout all CI shops and monitored. Doors leading to the outside of the plant should have an audible door alarm that notifies CI and institutional staff when a door is opened without staff approval. Evaluate camera systems and coverage often to ensure blind spot coverage. Convex mirrors should be used to provide additional coverage for corners and hallways.
  2. Blind Spots/Line of Sight
    • Equipment Placement - Care should be taken in the initial layout of the shop to ensure clear line of sight whenever possible. Line of sight should be taken into consideration when designing/ordering new equipment.
    • Material Storage - It is easy to create a blind spot with moveable boxes. Boxes/pallets should be stacked so they do not interfere with the line of sight whenever possible. Install cameras and mirrors where shelving interferes with line of sight.
    • Clutter - CI’s should limit the supply of material, equipment and tools in the shop to the minimum amount needed. Store excess material, equipment and tools in a secure location outside of the shop. Keep shop clean and aisles clear at all times.
  3. Offender Boundaries
    • Signage should be used to clearly delineate boundary areas for offenders. Do not allow offenders to freely walk the shop or enter the tool room or office areas without a staff member present.
    • Offender Stations – Do not allow offenders to lock desks or cabinets. Offenders should not be allowed to create “comfort stations” with personal possessions, photos, magazines and/or food.
    • Telephones – If offenders have access to telephones as part of their regular job duties, where appropriate, lock the telephones with a passcode or require the offender to go through a main switch board. Telephone printouts should be closely monitored for unauthorized use by offender workers. Such telephones are preferably equipped with monitoring and recording capability.
    • Computers – Develop written policy/procedures that allow offender use of computers and computer technology as part of their work assignment. Policy should define offender internet access, if applicable. Keep all computers or equipment with external access (fax, copier and modem) in secured areas. An audit of computers should be conducted regularly by knowledgeable staff to prevent abuse or unauthorized use of systems.

10. Evaluate Waste Removal Procedures

A perpetual inventory of all hazardous materials in each shop should be maintained at the point of storage.

  1. Scrap Metal – For CI programs located inside facilities and depending on custody level, all waste product that can be made into a weapon must be collected, secured and disposed of in secure waste bins at the end of every shift. Make sure all scrap metal is accounted for and secured prior to offenders leaving metal plants. Secure waste bins may only be emptied in areas not accessible by offenders. Offender involvement in this activity should be supervised.
  2. Sharps Containers – Strategically place locked sharps containers in areas for disposal. Inventory and dispose of sharps frequently. Offender involvement in this activity should be supervised.
  3. Waste Clutter – Work areas should remain clean and clear of all waste and debris.
  4. Trash Storage and Removal – Waste bins should be located throughout the work areas and emptied daily. Dispose of any waste that could be made into a weapon in a secure waste bin.
  5. Hazardous Waste – Disposal of hazardous waste should be consistent with OSHA codes. All hazardous materials issued to offenders or drawn by staff from a point of supply and put in containers should be labeled to identify contents.

11. Develop and Maintain Institution/CI Partnership

Developing a cooperative partnership with the institution centered on respect, collaboration and proactive communication is imperative to ensuring security of the offenders and safety of all staff. The CI and the institutional staff must work together and respect each other to accomplish all objectives.

  1. Institutional Leadership – The CI shop manager(s) and the institution’s head and custody managers are the leaders in setting the tone of cooperation and respect. The CI shop manager should attend appropriate security and safety related institutional meetings led by the warden/superintendent or designated staff.
  2. Building Relationships through Communication – Communication is the key to building a strong relationship between the institution and CI staff.
  3. Training – CI staff should attend orientation and required DOC training with department staff.

12. Obtain compliance verification in conjunction with the DOC or through external sources.

  1. PREA Audits
  2. Security Audits
  3. Safety and Environmental Audits
  4. ACA Audits


  • Employee Turnover
  • Loss Time Worked
  • Employee Accidents - OSHA 300 Log
  • Assaults on Staff
  • Security Audit Incidents
  • Safety Audit Incidents


ACA Standards
OSHA Safety Program Specialists
State of NC Employee Safety Handbook
Situational Awareness in a Correctional Environment
“Nobody Gets Hurt” - Situational Awareness PowerPoint


NIC Staffing Analysis Clearing House – Includes NIC’s 9-Step Staffing Analysis flow chart
Prison Staffing Analysis: A Training Manual with Staffing Considerations for Special Populations