The main objective of the Inmate Employment Policy is to provide work habits, experience, training and skills, thereby increasing inmates' chances for post-release employment, and thus reducing re-offending. A commercial approach to employment training is adopted to ensure that this objective is achieved.
The provision of inmate employment must also be consistent with the requirements of Integrated Offender Management.
Inmates are not employees of the Department of Corrections and are therefore not subject to the same wage rates, rights and remedies as private sector workers. Inmates do however have protections under the legislation and regulations governing the Department. There are incentives for inmates to engage in employment training. The Ministers of Corrections and Finance have approved a scale of incentive allowances.
Training is a critical component of providing inmates with employment skills. The elements of training comprise basic work attendance skills, on the job training, and, to the maximum extent possible, nationally recognised certification of skill levels achieved. Other vocational training may also be provided. As part of the Sentence Planning process a plan will be developed for each working inmate.
Appropriate management, internal control, accounting and reporting procedures will be followed, and an annual consolidated income and expenditure statement will be produced for each employment initiative.
To minimise allegations of unfair competition, and to provide a degree of competitive neutrality, employment initiatives will target markets where there is little opposition to entry. These are markets that are unlikely to cause direct displacement of private sector labour.
The Inmate Employment Policy is consistent with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules. Inmate employment policies and practices are also intended to be consistent with the principles of the International Labour Organisation Convention 20 on forced labour.
A key element in ensuring the success of the Inmate Employment Policy will be the effective reintegration of inmates back into the community, thus reducing re-offending.