The Other Side of the Department of Corrections

March 21, 2013

Now that we’ve read about what it’s like to work in a prison, let’s explore the lighter side of the Department of Corrections.

Within the DOC, there is division called Colorado Corrections Institute (CCI) that was created by the Colorado General Assembly in 1977. CCI has a variety of manufacturing, agricultural, and service industries that utilize inmates for labor, which saves Colorado taxpayers $9 million a year. It also reinforces positive inmate behavior by providing both training and a meaningful work experience for qualified inmates.

When you think of inmate-produced products, vehicle license plates probably come to mind. Did you know that inmates also make air filters, furniture, fly-fishing rods, garments and leather products, mattresses, and signs (among many other things)?

CCI also runs an extensive agri-business program that includes dairy, goat, fish, shrimp, and pheasant farming, in addition to operating greenhouses, orchards, and vineyards. For those inmates not into agri-business, CCI has opportunities for inmates to learn and perform automobile painting and repair, construction, culinary arts, firefighting and reclamation, landscaping, trail maintenance, and warehouse work.

Probably two of the better known inmate programs involve animals. They are the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP) and the K-9 Adoption and Training Program. Horses and dogs are trained by inmates and available for adoption by the public. If you have a new dog or one that needs some training, you might want to check out the Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program available through CCI. Check out their heartwarming stories about the dogs that have been rescued and adopted.