Correctional Industries – A Working Solution
BY: Patricia E.Taylor, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute Of Corrections
On June 21, 2011, Hilda Solis, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, hosted a roundtable entitled, “Back on the Job Market: Workforce Development and Employment Strategies for the Formerly Incarcerated.” This national dialogue brought together policy makers and practitioners to address the reentry issues of the over 2 million adults incarcerated in our Nation’s jails and prisons – 95% of which will be released from confinement (Hughes & Wilson, 2002). We know that approximately two-thirds of these adults will be re-incarcerated within 3 years of their release (Langan & Levin, 2002) as they struggle to maintain a crime free lifestyle. This ‘revolving door syndrome’ must end. Our Nation can no longer afford the economic cost to our communities or the negative impact inflicted on our children and families. We have the resources available to develop the types of programs that will make a difference, and as stated by Attorney General Eric Holder during this meeting,“With your unique insights, and your ongoing engagement, I have no doubt that we can move forward in meeting the goals that we all share: improving public safety; saving precious taxpayer dollars; and ensuring that the millions of Americans who have served their time – and are struggling to rejoin their communities – are able to become productive members of society, to contribute their skills and training to our workforce, to provide for themselves and their families, and to remain crime-free.”
We can no longer afford to do what seems right. The program established and supported today should be based on the best and promising practices and provide the structure to address criminogenic risks/needs. Correctional Industries is that type of program; in fact, Correctional Industries programs provide the ‘working solution’ that supports the successful reentry of transitioning offenders. In collaboration with the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) will sponsor a satellite/internet broadcast to explore how industry programming contributes to the successful reentry of offenders. This three-hour live broadcast, “Correctional Industries: A Working Solution” airs on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST (http://nicic.gov/Training/SIB10052011)
During this broadcast, participants will:
• Review the history of Correctional Industries programming
• Define evidence-based practices
• De-mystify criminogenic needs/risks
• Identify the skills needed to successfully obtain and retain post-release employment.
• Identify opportunities that promote professional growth and development
A panel of subject matter experts, representing a cross-section of Federal and state industry programs participated in two and half days of planning to identify the goals and objectives for this project.
Representatives from both Federal and state industry programs meet to identify the goals and objectives for the broadcastwww.nationalcia.org | 33 LEADERS IN REENTRY
It should be noted that this is the third in a series of broadcasts specific to Correctional Industries programs. Acknowledging the need to leverage resources through partnerships, these national dialogues have helped to validate the importance of Correctional Industries programming in our Nation’s reentry process. As indicated in the Public Policy on Correctional Industries (CI), approved by the National Correctional Industries Association in 2009, correctional industry programs contribute significantly to effective offender reentry. By providing a real life work experience, offenders are able to identify the personality traits that impact their ability to maintain gainful employment. In addition, CI programs supports the exploration of transferable skills — while helping offenders develop the job specific skills needed to effectively compete in today’s job market.
As a center for learning innovation and leadership, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) supports the advancement of effective correctional practices and public policies. To that end, NIC entered into a collaborative relationship with the National Correctional Industries Association – currently supporting a multi-year Correctional Industries Initiative to improve services and programming for offenders at high risk for job loss. This initiative serves as a vehicle for change and progress; we can only be optimistic as Correctional Industries programs help move the field from ‘reaction to results’.
Hughes, T. & D. J. Wilson, Reentry Trends in the United States. Washington, D. C.; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2002. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/ pub/pdf/reentry.pdf
Langan, P. A. & D. J. Leven, Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994. JCJ 193427. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/rpr94.pdf