The Role of Privatized Prison Industries in Post-Release Labor Market Reintegration

Jillian Berk, Brown University

As the prison population has rapidly expanded, the share of inmates participating in educational and vocational prison programming has declined. Collaborations with private organizations have the potential to provide new funding sources for prisoner rehabilitation. Since 1981, Florida has outsourced all of its prison industry programs to Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (PRIDE). PRIDE does not receive any public funding, but instead finances its operations and training activities with the revenue from its prison industries. Using administrative data from the Florida Department of Corrections, I compare the post-release employment outcomes of offenders who participate in the PRIDE program to those of similar offenders who do not. While the OLS results suggest that PRIDE participation increases earnings by 10 percent, this effect disappears when I correct for selection into treatment by exploiting conditional random assignment to initial prison facility.

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Presented in Session 47: Incarcerations and Labor Market Outcomes