Under the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP), BJA certifies that local or state prison industry programs meet all the necessary requirements to be exempt from federal restrictions on prisoner-made goods in interstate commerce. The program places inmates in realistic work environments, pays them prevailing wages, and gives them a chance to develop marketable skills that will increase their potential for rehabilitation and meaningful employment on release.
The technical assistance provider under PIECP, the National Correctional Industries Association, works with the public and private sectors to provide the latest information and strategies on prison industries and to enhance certificate holders' prison industry programs.
Currently, 37 state and 4 county-based certified correctional industry programs operate in the United States, and these programs manage at least 175 business partnerships with private industry. As of September 30, 2005, PIECP generated more than $33 million for victims' programs, $21 million for inmate family support, $97.5 million for correctional institution room and board costs, and $46.6 million in state and federal taxes.
PIECP originally was authorized under the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-157, Sec. 827). The Crime Control Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-647) authorizes continuation of the program indefinitely.