California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James Tilton formally announced the opening of the Prison Industry Authority's Modular Building Enterprise at a ceremony held at Folsom State Prison today. The new factory, housed in a 30,000 square foot facility, will provide rehabilitative work assignments for inmates in building modular structures that will be subsequently transported for use at various prisons and juvenile centers throughout the State.
The modular portable structures will be used by CDCR for:
- Classrooms for Division of Juvenile Justice correctional centers and for CDCR prisons.
- Temporary housing for incoming correctional academy cadets.
- Offices to provide medical, dental, and psychological services.
- Additional space for rehabilitation programs and services.
“California’s correctional system is in dire need of additional space to help meet the challenge of prison overcrowding," said Secretary Tilton. "This enterprise being built by the Prison Industry Authority provides prisons with much needed structures for rehabilitative programs while giving inmates the opportunity to learn carpentry skills that can be used to obtain employment upon their release."
Inmates working in the modular enterprise will also participate in PIA’s new Career Technical Education-Carpentry training, a pre-apprenticeship program where inmates gain experience in various skills sets including carpentry, welding, electrical, forklift operation, plumbing, and concrete pouring. Additionally, inmates will receive eight hours of classroom training each week as part of the curriculum. After completion of the training, the first of its type in the nation, paroling inmates will be eligible for placement in a full-scale apprenticeship program, offered through the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California, which leads to jobs with construction companies that employ organized labor. PIA will pay the initial union dues and provide a full complement of tools to inmates who complete the program and enter Carpenters Local 46.
“The Prison Industry Authority has initiated the modular enterprise to meet the need for additional space as a result of overcrowding in our correctional system. The inmates are gaining valuable skills they can use after release. We have worked with the Northern California Carpenters Council to develop a curriculum that provides actual on-the-job training. Paroling inmates will have attained skills that can be readily used to acquire meaningful jobs upon parole,” said Matt Powers, PIA’s General Manager.
PIA is the State organization that provides productive job assignments for inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions. PIA’s products and services are available to governmental entities, including federal, state, and local agencies. PIA operates factories that produce a variety of goods and services including: modular buildings, office furniture, eye glasses, license plates, coffee, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, clothing, and much more.
PIA has established the Inmate Employability Program, which provides training, certification, and job placement assistance, to improve the employability of inmates upon parole. While PIA work assignments help train inmates to prepare for employment, the program also reduces idleness and decreases violence in the institutions. Court-ordered restitution/fines are deducted from the wages earned by PIA inmates and are transferred to the Crime Victims' Restitution Fund. In fiscal year 2004-2005, over $.5 million of inmates’ PIA earnings was deposited into this fund.