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Author Topic: Illinois Purchases Most Of Prison Work Program's Products  (Read 584 times)

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Offline Forevermah

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Illinois Purchases Most Of Prison Work Program's Products
« on: November 30, 2015, 06:40:18 AM »




Illinois Purchases Most Of Prison Work Program's Products

November 21, 2015 9:54 am


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' prison work program is responsible for generating $52.6 million worth of products and services this past fiscal year while offering skills to inmates, the state Department of Corrections says.

The prisoners earn on average $1.90 an hour as part of Illinois Correctional Industries, a business the department said was started to help them earn skills and money, The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported (http://bit.ly/1kAtYtg ).

The program operates in 17 of the state's two dozen prisons, and state agencies purchase about 97 percent of the products and services, Illinois Corrections Department spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said.

Inmates can earn between 30 cents and $2.25 an hour. They can participate if they have a high school diploma and acceptable prison disciplinary record. Those who participate have lower recidivism rates, Wilson said.

"The most important product we produce is a changed person," Wilson said. "We are equipping people with skills designed to help them find and keep employment, and earn a livable wage, once they go home to communities across Illinois."

Rahim Khalil had a maintenance job at Vienna Correctional Center while he was incarcerated in the early 1990s. Khalil was able to save $700, which he said he used to help him restart his life in Carbondale.

"That was part of my plan," Khalil said.

Examples of jobs for prisoners include processing meat, milk and baking goods; making clothing and mattresses; and making cleaning supplies like brooms, wax and soap. Workers also make furniture that's used in university residence halls and offices, or work in recycling services.

Michael Davis, executive director of the Lutheran Social Services' Prison and Family Ministry in Marion, oversees a school that helps prisoners as they transition back to jobs and society. He said the program raises inmates' self-esteem.

"Programs like that can only help if you're giving an individual a skill," Davis said. "You're trying to give them an honest skill — (unlike the) skill that bought them to prison. It definitely has to give the individual some hope."

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/illinois-purchases-most-of-prison-work-program-s-products/article_5340cc58-9a18-5762-94bf-2910fcd65017.html
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