The use of inmate work crews is recorded as far back as 1908 when inmate labor built the Florence Prison. Arizona Correctional Industries was created by the Arizona Legislature in 1969, operating under the acronym “ARCOR” (Arizona Correctional) until 1987, and received appropriated funds to support its operations. In 1987, ARCOR was renamed Arizona Correctional Industries (ACI). Four years later, in 1991, the funding was discontinued and ACI’s business enterprise became a financially self-sufficient division of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC); operating entirely without taxpayer funding.
Benefit to the State Economy
The constructive use of inmate time and labor has a direct and positive impact on the State of Arizona budget. The employment of state workers through ACI’s program, as well as the work done by inmates, contributes to our communities. Inmate compensation deductions go to the state general fund, victim and court restitution, and family support. As the State of Arizona faces budget challenges and high unemployment rates, ACI provides a steady source of revenue and new job opportunities for Arizona businesses. These contributions come from two areas: actual raw materials and services that ACI purchases from Arizona businesses and consumer expenditures generated as a result of ACI related employment.
Findings from the Arizona State University, WP Carey School of Business, Seidman Research Institute study estimate the impact from Arizona Correctional Industries to the State of Arizona in 2015 as:
Other benefits to tax payers include: