Incarcerated workers generate at least $2 billion worth of goods and $9 billion in prison maintenance services every year. On average, most workers are paid between 15 and 52 cents per hour.
Nearly two thirds of people incarcerated in state and federal prisons work-almost 800,000 people. Many report receiving job assignments without training or proper safety equipment, causing preventable injuries.
Wages are so low their families have to cover basic necessities. Changed Choices clients often shared that it costs $100/month to cover the cost of medical and dental care, personal hygiene items, clothing, communication such as stamps, phone and video call time. North Carolina inmates are paid between .05 to .38 an hour. On the high end, that would make an inmate’s weekly salary $15 or $60 a month.