PIECP Worker


The Prison Industry Enhancement (PIE) Certification Program exempts certified state and local departments of correction and other eligible entities from normal restrictions on the sale of offender-made goods in interstate commerce. The program also lifts restrictions on these certified entities permitting them to sell offender-made goods to the Federal Government in amounts exceeding the $10,000 maximum normally imposed on such transactions. The PIE Certification Program was created by Congress in 1979 to encourage states and units of local government to establish employment opportunities for offenders that approximate private-sector work opportunities. The program is designed to place inmates in a realistic work environment, pay them the prevailing local wage for similar work, and enable them to acquire marketable skills to increase their potential for successful rehabilitation and meaningful employment on release. To become certified, each program must meet statutory and guideline requirements as listed under Mandatory Criteria for Program Participation.

NCIA provides training and technical assistance for this program. Under a grant from BJA, the NCIA staff and volunteer correctional industry professionals assess program participants for compliance with program requirements and provide onsite and telephone technical assistance to programs that are not in compliance.

The PIE Certification Program has two primary objectives:
• Generate products and services that enable offenders to make a contribution to society, help offset the cost of their incarceration, compensate crime victims, and support their families
• Reduce prison idleness, increase inmate job skills, and improve the prospects for successful inmate transition to the community on release

The program benefits:
• Corrections administrators. The program is a cost-effective way to reduce idleness and productively occupy a portion of the ever-growing correctional population.
• Crime victims. The program provides a means of partial repayment for harm sustained.
• The private sector. The program provides a stable and readily available workforce. In addition, many correctional agencies provide low cost manufacturing space to private-sector companies involved in the program.
• The public. Because of inmate worker contributions to room and board, family support, victim compensation and taxes, the program provides a way to reduce the escalating cost of crime.
• Inmates. The program offers a chance to work, meet financial obligations, increase job skills, and increase the likelihood of meaningful employment on release from incarceration.

All states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and all units of local government or other eligible entities authorized by law to administer prison industry programs are eligible to apply for program certification.

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