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California: Joint Venture Program Compensates Crime Victims

On December 12, 2011, pursuant to the Prison Inmate Labor Initiative of 1990, better known as the Joint Venture Program, San Quentin State Prison officials donated a total of $38,232 to seven Bay Area nonprofit agencies that provide services to victims of crime.

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,

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