The prison economy

At least one business made money and doesn’t foresee any layoffs. MINNCOR Industries, the “company” that uses prison labor. The company was created by the state during the economic slowdown of the early ’90s, to encourage prison industries to operate in a more business-like fashion.

According to a report from the Legislative Auditor, that presents some challenges because most businesses don’t have to take a headcount in the middle of the day to make sure nobody has escaped, and some inmates not only don’t have skills for the job, but often aren’t all that interested in showing up to work on time or putting in a full day of work. (Fill in joke about your workplace here.)

But the economy is putting a squeeze on MINNCOR in its own way, according to today’s report. The number of inmates is increasing so rapidly, it’s getting difficult to find jobs for them.

The company also has a turnover problem. The majority of “employees” have less than a year remaining on their sentence, the report said.

  • Not to mention how prisons are breaking the bank, and if California is any indication of the future we’ll be releasing a lot of prisoners before their sentence is finished.

  • I was at the Auditor’s presentation on MINNCOR this morning and they’re also quite good at determining and lopping off or modifying unprofitable parts of their business. They actually turned their highest profits with their lowest (or at least significantly lower) revenue this year. Interesting business.