Section A: A Commercial Approach to Inmate Employment

5. Rationale

Setting a commercial objective will ensure that prison industries are self-sustaining. Where industries have been run on a non-commercial basis they have often met with failure and poor performance.

Because non-commercial industries are not self-sufficient they are often cut back in times of financial stringency or closed down when they make a loss.

Most importantly, commercial industries provide a suitable environment in which inmates can develop a constructive work ethic and commercial skills applicable to post-release employment. Training and working in a commercial environment increases the likelihood that inmates will acquire the necessary skills and qualifications for employment in the commercial world after their release.

6. Private Sector Involvement

The objectives of the Inmate Employment Policy are, firstly, to provide work experience and skills as a means of rehabilitation and, secondly, to reduce custodial costs. To provide appropriate employment opportunities to all eligible inmates on the scale necessary, the involvement of the private sector is desirable.

Private sector involvement will ensure that prison industries are operating on a similar basis to external industries and that work skills acquired in prison remain relevant in the community post-release.

Involving the private sector will assist prisons in focusing on their core business, which is supervising inmates and addressing their other offending-related needs. The private sector can bear the commercial risk including capital, marketing and distribution. Where possible the private sector should also provide business management expertise and provide inmates with commercial experience and training.