Offender jobs teach responsibility, work ethic, and marketable skills. They also promote stability within the institutions by reducing idleness.
Work rules mimic requirements of jobs outside the prison. Offenders are expected to report to their assigned job at the scheduled time and perform all assigned duties. A system of incentives and disincentives are in place to help promote the concept that job advancement is connected with positive work performance. It is our desire that participation in prison jobs will be the basis for instilling good work ethics that will continue when the offender is released.
More than 5,000 offenders work in support services inside our prisons preparing food, cleaning the institutions, landscaping, laundry, recycling, and maintaining buildings and equipment. This reduces operational costs, as well as teaches new skills. Over 1,000 offenders also work as teachers aides, counselor aides, clerks, and library assistants.
In 1994, the General Assembly created TRICOR (Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction) to put offenders to work in a real life job setting.
The offenders also provide community service to non-profit organizations and state, local and federal government agencies whenever possible. Institutional work lines pick up trash along roadways, clean out underbrush in fields surrounding the perimeter of the prison, cut firewood, and plant, tend and harvest crops.
Programming is an integral part of Rehabilitative Services. Based on his/her individual needs, offenders may be assigned to a substance use treatment program, academic and vocational classes or to a transitional center, etc. Offenders may receive program sentence credits and a small stipend for work performed or for program participation. Approximately ninety (90%) percent of all eligible offenders are assigned to work and/or to participate in a rehabilitative program, including education.