Federal and state-authorized Joint Venture Program allows employment of incarcerated individuals at market wages.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has entered into a Joint Venture agreement with California-based non-profit Turn 2 You, Inc., to employ trained offenders within the walls of San Quentin State Prison.
The employed offenders will have completed the Code.7370 program, a technology-based rehabilitation program also operated at San Quentin by CDCR in partnership with the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) and San Francisco-based non-profit The Last Mile. The program teaches offenders industry-current computer coding skills.
Selected graduates of the Code.7370 Program will be eligible to work for Turn 2 U’s Joint Venture as software engineers, putting their newly learned skills to work on real client-driven projects and earning industry-comparable wages while serving the remainder of their sentence.
The Turn 2 U Joint Venture will use a sophisticated computer hardware assembly comprising a server cluster, network area storage (NAS), and secure network switching. This hardware will enable stand-alone delivery of all customer projects in a realistic, internet-like fashion while maintaining absolute separation from any connectivity by offenders. Hardware sponsors include Hewlett Packard, Aruba Networks, and Reduxio.
“The work experience gained by these currently incarcerated employees will greatly increase their employability when they parole,” said Turn 2 U and TLM Co-Founder, Chris Redlitz. “This Joint Venture essentially guarantees that these men will have marketable job skills, a relevant portfolio, and savings to help them with successful reentry.”
Initially, the program will employ seven offenders, including one project manager, at San Quentin, with plans to hire more trained offenders in the future at both San Quentin and proposed locations at Ironwood State Prison and Folsom Women’s Facility.
The Joint Venture Program was established in 1990 upon the passage of Proposition 139, “The Prison Inmate Labor Initiative,” a voter initiative aimed at reducing recidivism by providing opportunities for offenders to gain valuable work experience and job skills training. The Joint Venture Program is established at California’s adult institutions, and the Free Venture Program provides similar work experience opportunities at the state of California’s juvenile facilities.
Under Joint Venture Program guidelines, offenders are paid a comparable wage that is subject to deductions for federal, state and local taxes. In addition, 20 percent from each of the following categories is deducted from an offender’s wages: room and board, inmate trust/canteen account, family support, mandatory savings, and victims’ compensation.
“The Joint Venture Program is an exceptional model for public-private partnerships because it benefits businesses, crime victims and taxpayers, while preparing offenders for successful integration back into the community,” said CDCR Secretary and Prison Industry Board Chair Scott Kernan. “Having Turn 2 U operating inside San Quentin is a great opportunity for these offenders, particularly when they parole, since a job helps to keep you out of prison. I am very pleased for CDCR to be a part of this innovative program.”
The Joint Venture Program and the Code.7370 Program are CDCR rehabilitation programs managed by the California Prison Industry Authority. (CALPIA) CALPIA is a self-supporting state entity that provides training and productive work assignments for approximately 6,500 offenders in California. The cumulative recidivism rate among CALPIA’s CTE programs is 7.13%, a success attributed to the job skills and industry certifications obtained by participating in the program.
More information about CalPIA can be found at www.calpia.ca.gov.