Dave Cox, Plant Manager of MaiCo Industries Inc., Ellsworth KS, was invited to participate in a meeting with Governor Kelly, Department of Corrections Acting Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) Jeff Zmuda and other private industry contract holders to discuss the enhancement and expansion of KDOC program. Jeff Zmuda commented, “At the Kansas Department of Corrections, we value our industry partners and the work they do to assist our offenders with developing practical, job-related skills that will assist them with securing employment when they leave our facilities and re-enter their communities. We are committed to increasing work and training opportunities for offenders in our facilities in the coming years.”
How Private Industry Contracts Benefit Kansas
More than two dozen private companies, including MaiCo industries, employ more than 800 inmates from each of Kansas’ eight correctional facilities. Private correctional industries are public-private partnerships in or near correctional facilities that provide real-world employment experience to prison inmates. Private-sector companies’ contract with correctional industries to help meet the labor needs of business and industry through apprenticeships and work programs. Offenders develop marketable job skills and a work ethic that will help prepare them to return to our communities.
These partnerships provide reliable workers who value gainful employment. The employment opportunities reduce idle time for inmates, support prison safety and provide the offender with wages to reimburse victims, pay child support and court costs. With an earned wage, inmates are required to pay a 25 percent fee for room and board costs that are repaid to the state's general fund. Ten percent of the inmate’s wage is placed in a mandatory savings account that is available only when they are released. Through these programs, inmates are learning to become accountable for their incarceration as well as learning to become more productive individuals.
In addition, the program provides ongoing opportunities for the inmate to apply employment-related skills in their daily life. Skills like respecting authority and taking direction are important when preparing to find and maintaining a job. During the program, inmates inevitably prepare to be productive members of society. This positively impacts the inmate, his family, and the surrounding community to which they return.
Most importantly, inmates learn the value of sustaining their new habits once released. The facilities provide a safe place where positive habits can become ingrained in the inmate so that he re-enters society with the ability to move forward.
Prior to the meeting the Governor and the other meeting participants were given tours of three Leavenworth manufacturers currently employing inmates from the local prison:
About MaiCo Industries Inc.
MaiCo manufactures steel poles, bridge tub girders, building structural steel, skid attachments and other specialty fabrication. Located in Ellsworth KS, MaiCo was founded in 1995, by Paul Mai. The original fabrication facility consisted of approximately 50,000 square feet and specialized in custom fabricated 3-plate beam frames. In 2001 MaiCo built a 50,000 square foot expansion on to the original facility to fabricate multi-sided poles. In 2014, an additional 15,000 square foot was added to the pole division, making the facility a total of 115,000 square foot.