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Improvements from State of Utah’s SUCCESS Program Adds Jobs for Inmates and Doubles Revenue at Utah Correctional Industries

Submitted By: Robyn Burghard

Utah’s SUCCESS Program led by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) has reported positive results on an initiative that supports of Governor Herbert’s mission to reduce recidivism (the relapse of criminal behavior) in the State. NOVACES, a management consulting firm that provides performance improvement solutions to the government, is teamed with Goldratt Research Labs to deliver operational excellence training and facilitation support to Utah Correctional Industries (UCI) as part of the initiative.

Studies show that 66% of inmates return to prison within three years of release, whereas inmates with UCI work experience return only 55% of the time. NOVACES is teaching new skills to the inmates and streamlining manufacturing processes in an effort to increase revenue and expand opportunities for inmates at UCI’s Furniture shop.

With the help of NOVACES and GOMB staff, UCI applied operational excellence methods to increase production capability in the furniture manufacturing process. As a result, the furniture shop was able to better manage production and could deliver more orders on time to its customers. The production capacity and revenue was more than doubled, and most importantly this has generated new job opportunities for inmates.

UCI expects to add between 21 and 26 new jobs for inmates as a result of the new manufacturing processes. Currently there are over 7,000 inmates in the Utah prison system at an average cost of $28,000 an inmate per year. Although 3,417 inmates are eligible to work, currently just 740, or 21%, are employed by UCI. Their goal is to be able to provide a job for every eligible inmate.

This initiative’s success will enable UCI staff to further expand process improvements to its 16 industries including construction, furniture, print shop, signs, and embroidery. Alan James, Director of UCI, thanked NOVACES for the excellent work on the initiative and expressed support of  replicating the outstanding success of the furniture shop in other UCI businesses.

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