The Joint Venture Program allows private companies to use prisoner labor for the purpose of producing goods and services that may be sold to the public. Eligible prisoners receive wages comparable to those paid to non-prisoner employees performing the same or similar type of work – typically minimum wage.
The wages earned by Joint Venture prisoner workers are subject to deductions for taxes, room and board, and mandatory savings. Additionally, 20 percent of their net wages after taxes goes into a fund established to compensate crime victims. That fund was the source of the money donated by San Quentin prison officials, which represented the contributions of 30 prisoners employed by a Joint Venture company, Labcon North America, that assembles medical devices at San Quentin.
Donation checks were presented to five Marin County agencies – Citizens Against Homicide, Canal Community Alliance, Community Violence Solutions, Center for Domestic Peace and the Sunny Hills Children’s Center – as well as two Alameda County agencies: Bay Area Women Against Rape and the East Oakland Youth Development Center.
Sources: Mercury News, www.abclocal.go.com
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