International Advances in Economic Research

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 540-550

First online:

Prison Labor: The Local Effects of Ohio Prison Industries

  • Charles E. ScottAffiliated withLoyola College in Maryland Email author 
  • , Frederick W. DerrickAffiliated withLoyola College in Maryland

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Prison labor has both positive and negative effects. Keeping prisoners active, training and socializing them to be productive citizens after prison, and helping to pay for their incarceration are some of the positives. Potential crowding out of free labor and industry is the major potential negative. This paper addresses the quantitative financial and employment consequences on local free labor and industry of prison industries in Ohio using an input–output model for Ohio. Based on the analysis, prison industries employment in Ohio has negligible to positive employment consequences for the Ohio economy and partially offsets the incarceration cost of the inmates who participate – providing between 5 and 10 percent of the incarceration cost in net cash flow and induced tax revenues.