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About

The California Prison Industry (CALPIA) is a self-supporting, customer-focused business that provides productive work assignments for approximately 7,000 offenders within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) institutions. CALPIA manages over 100 manufacturing, service, and consumable operations in all 34 CDCR institutions throughout California. The goods and services produced by CALPIA are sold predominately to departments of the State of California, as well as other government entities. CALPIA’s goal is to train offenders with job skills, good work habits, and basic education and job support in the community, so when they parole they never return to prison.

CALPIA’s Authorizing Statute

  • CALPIA Reduces Recidivism and Increases Public Safety.

    CALPIA prepares offenders for productive lives and reduces incarceration costs. Paroled offenders who participated in CALPIA programs are less likely to return to prison than general population offenders. Although other relevant factors may contribute to lowering recidivism, over a three-year period, beginning in FY 2007-08, CALPIA participants returned to prison, on average, 26 to 38 percent less often than offenders released from the CDCR general population, saving the General Fund millions in incarceration cost avoidance. CALPIA provides CDCR with offender programming positions, thereby saving CDCR in General Fund costs for rehabilitation positions that CDCR does not have to fund.
  • The goods and services produced by CALPIA’s enterprises are sold predominately to departments of the State of California, as well as other government entities.

    CDCR is CALPIA’s largest customer, and accounted for 59.6 percent of all sales in FY 2014-15, up from 57.1 percent in FY 2013-14. Other major State customers include the Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV), the Department of State Hospitals(DSH), the Department of Health Care Services(DHS), the Department of Transportation (CalTrans), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the California National Guard, the California Highway Patrol (CHP),the Department of Veteran Affairs (CDVA), the Department of General Services (DGS), the Department of Military, and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
  • CALPIA invests in curricula for offenders.

    CALPIA offers programs that offer nationally recognized accredited certification such as dental technology, food handling, laundry, agriculture, welding, metal stamping, industrial safety and health, electrical systems, mechanical systems and maintenance. In FY 2014-15, 884 CALPIA participants received a certificate of proficiency and/or Standard Occupational Code Proficiency certification and 3,117 participants successfully completed an accredited certification program, a 129 percent increase from FY 2013-14. All CALPIA offender participants must achieve a General Education Development (GED) degree within two years to continue participating in CALPIA.
  • CALPIA provides annual savings to taxpayers and state agencies.

    CALPIA participants return to prison far less often than general population offenders. The lower recidivism rate of CALPIA participants saves the state General Fund annually. Additionally, according to a survey of 11 items by the Bureau of State Audits, CALPIA products were less expensive than the private sector in six out of the 11 items sampled, which saved CALPIA’s five largest state customers $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2009-10.
  • CALPIA provides significant economic benefits to the State.

    CALPIA supports California’s economy through its operations and the purchase of raw materials from California businesses. According to a 2010 study by associates of the University of Nevada, if CALPIA did not exist, economic activity in California would decline by $295 million, household income would decline by $75 million, and more than 1,000 jobs would be lost statewide. (2010 study)
  • CALPIA participants pay back society.

    CALPIA participants contribute 40% of their wages ($.35 to $.95 per hour) to pay court-ordered restitution and fees.
  • CALPIA participants make prisons safer.

    Reducing idleness decreases violence against both staff and those who are incarcerated. CALPIA participants must have no disciplinary actions against them in order to keep their jobs. CALPIA participants much achieve a General Equivalency Diploma within two years to continue participation.
  • CALPIA products and services are available to government entities.

    State and Federal agencies, city, county and local districts may purchase CALPIA products and services.

CALPIA Founding

CALPIA was created by Chapter 1549, Statutes of 1982 as a semiautonomous state agency to operate California's prison industries in a manner similar to private industry. CALPIA is established to:

  • Develop and operate manufacturing, agricultural, and service enterprises that provide work opportunities for offenders under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  • Create and maintain working conditions within enterprises, as much like those which prevail in private industry as possible, to assure offenders assigned therein the opportunity to work productively, to earn funds, and to acquire or improve effective work habits or occupational skills
  • Operate work programs for offenders that are self-supporting through the generation of sufficient funds from the sale of products and services to pay all its expenses, thereby avoiding the cost of alternative inmate programming by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Fast Facts

  • CALPIA provides work assignments for approximately 7,000 offenders and operates over 100 service, manufacturing, and consumable factories at 34 prisons throughout California.
  • CALPIA is self-supporting and does not receive an annual appropriation from the Legislature. CALPIA's revenue comes from the sale of its products and services to governmental organizations.
  • CALPIA's industries produce over 1,400 goods and services including: office furniture, clothing, food products, shoes, printing services, signs, binders, eye wear, gloves, license plates, cell equipment, and much more.
  • In 2000, CALPIA began the development of the Industry Employment Program to enhance the ability of offenders to obtain private sector jobs upon their release from prison. The program documents and certifies an offender's skills, work experience, and positive work habits acquired while assigned to CALPIA's enterprises.
  • CALPIA's job assignments are voluntary-offenders are not required to work; however, offenders are generally eager to participate, as waiting lists are common for many CALPIA assignments. The CALPIA work assignments can help offenders learn work skills and habits to become productive members of society.
  • CALPIA factories operate within Federal and State health, safety, and occupational regulations.
  • CALPIA programs assist offenders in learning the value of work. Many CALPIA offenders have never held a job or learned the value of work. CALPIA staff expects offenders to learn appropriate behavior on the job, do quality work, report to work on time, and follow occupational health and safety rules.
  • The Prison Industry Board (PIB) was established to oversee the operations of CALPIA, much like a corporate board of directors. The 11-member Board sets general policy for CALPIA, oversees the performance of existing CALPIA industries, determines which new industries shall be established, approves its annual plan, and appoints and monitors the performance of the General Manager. The Board also serves as a public hearing body charged with ensuring that CALPIA enterprises do not create a substantial adverse impact on California industry.