News

State’s inmate-labor agency is solvent

California’s inmate labor program, a self-sufficient system that doesn’t rely on the state’s deficit-riddled General Fund, has adopted a balanced budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year – one of the few solvent pieces of state government.

The governing board of the California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA) approved the $180 million budget as part of its annual plan at its June 29 meeting. The profit margin is down, but still in the black.

“In these tough economic times the CalPIA has been able to maintain profitability through increased efficiencies, thereby continuing its self sufficiency,” said the Authority’s general manager, Chuck Pattillo. “CalPIA is the CDCR’s (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) most successful rehabilitative program, and as a self sufficient program, CalPIA business operations help reduce prison violence, reimburse victims, save taxpayer dollars, and develop work skills.”

“I am proud of the hard work of the dedicated staff at CALPIA,” continued Pattillo. “In this atmosphere of layoffs and fiscal uncertainty, the CALPIA staff has been resilient and unwavering in their commitment to our mission.”

The annual plan represents the Authority’s projection of revenues and expenditures. It takes into consideration changes in the economy, legislation, the state budget, and inmate populations.

The proposed Annual Plan includes revenues of $180.4 million and fully funds all CALPIA operations and expenses, including $2.3 million to finance the Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, “while providing a minimal net profit,” the agency said. The CalPIA projects an average of 6,333 inmate positions, a reduction of 198 positions – about 3 percent – from 2009-10. The agency also anticipates funding 621 civil service positions, a reduction of 29 positions, or 4 percent from the mid-year review.

Under state law, CALPIA is required to operate a self-sufficient work program for prisoners by generating sufficient funds from the sale of products and services to pay for its expenses. The goods and services are used by the Department of Corrections to reduce its operational costs. The budget estimates a net profit level of $1.6 million, a 63 percent decrease – about $2.7 million – under the $4.3 million estimated for the current year.


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