Department of Correctional Services

Staff Study: Alternatives To Enhance New York State's Prison Industries Program

In New York's prison industries program, inmates are used by the Department of Correctional Services to produce goods and services that are sold to other government entities. The Department is prevented by law from selling these goods and services to customers other than government entities, and from contracting with private companies to help in the production and marketing of the goods and services. Prison industry programs in several other states are not restricted in these ways, and we reviewed some of these programs to determine whether consideration should be given to removing such restrictions from New York's prison industry program.

We concluded that, while a number of sensitive issues need to be taken into account, consideration should be given to allowing New York's prison industries program to sell to customers other than government entities and to contract with private companies. If the program were allowed to expand in these ways, its chronic operating deficits could be reduced or eliminated, private companies could be encouraged to relocate to New York, the number of inmates participating in the program could be increased, and more beneficial work experience could be provided to the inmates participating in the program. Department officials generally agree with our conclusions and have taken steps that could result in the enhancement of New York's prison industries program.

For a complete copy of Report 96-D-28 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.