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Development of Jail Industries

NCJ Number
R C Griesser; T M Crawford; G S Funke
Date Published
23 pages
This report details a study undertaken to determine the existence and potential for development of industries in local jails.
Results, obtained primarily via telephone surveys of administrators of 72 of the largest jails in the United States, suggest that there coexists a real potential for jail industry development yet a dearth of information about existing programs. Survey results indicated that nearly 30 percent of the sites had operating industry programs or were planning an industry component and that, based on interest expressed by jail administrators, development potential exists in another 12.5 percent of the sites. Administrators at the remaining sites had mixed reactions toward jail industries; about 17 percent expressed interest if fiscal and political obstacles could be overcome, while 4 percent revealed little or no interest. According to the study, greater industry activity is occurring in larger jails; most programs are based on manufacturing. Administrators cited such program benefits as reduction of idleness, value to inmates, and economic gains, and such drawbacks as liability issues, inmate turnover, and poor management. Footnotes and appendixes are included.