Thursday, August 16, 2007

PIA Introduces Nation’s First Prison Pre-apprenticeship Carpentry Program for Women

Training Links Paroling Inmates to Construction Jobs

(CORONA, CA)—The Prison Industry Authority today announced the graduation of 11 female inmates from the newly established carpentry pre-apprenticeship program that trains inmates in construction skills at the California Institution for Women in Corona. The “Career Technical Education-Carpentry” program, the first of its type in the nation for women, is modeled after a similar program for men introduced last year at Folsom State Prison.

“The implementation of this unique prison carpentry training at the California Institution for Women demonstrates Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commitment to provide new inmate rehabilitation programs. Obtaining employment upon release can make a significant difference in a parolee’s ability to succeed on the outside,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James Tilton. “Inmates can learn various carpentry skills that help prepare them for good-paying jobs. This is an opportunity for inmates to turn their lives around.”

After completion of the training, paroling inmates will be eligible for placement in jobs in the construction industry. PIA will provide a full complement of tools to inmates who complete the program and secure employment after release.

The City of Los Angeles Community Development Department will target for employment those inmates who will be paroling to the greater Los Angeles Region. “The City of Los Angeles is collaborating with the Prison Industry Authority to assist parolees who have graduated from the carpenter pre-apprenticeship program at the California Institution for Women. This is an opportunity for these inmates to develop skills that will enhance their ability to obtain employment upon parole,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

As part of their training, the inmates are renovating the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection training facility located at the prison. The work involves all phases of carpentry where inmates gain proficiencies in various skills including: framing, drywall, taping and texturing, painting, roofing, and finished carpentry skills.

PIA is the State organization that provides productive job assignments for inmates in California’s adult correctional institutions. PIA operates factories that produce a variety of goods and services including: modular buildings, office furniture, eye glasses, license plates, coffee, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, clothing, and much more. PIA’s products and services are available to governmental entities, including federal, state, and local agencies.

PIA has established the Inmate Employability Program, which provides training, certification, and job placement assistance, to improve the employability of inmates upon parole. While PIA work assignments help train inmates to prepare for employment, the program also reduces idleness and decreases violence in the institutions. Court-ordered restitution/fines are deducted from the wages earned by PIA inmates and are transferred to the Crime Victims' Restitution Fund. In fiscal year 2005-2006 over $.7 million of PIA inmates’ earnings was deposited into this fund.