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Richard Kanehl

Purchasing Agent, PRIDE Enterprises

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Set up a rehabilitation program like PRIDE in Florida which reduces prison reentry down to 11%.

The Pride program is a not-for-profit private corporation providing core business skills and on the job training related to how real-world private industry operates. The inmates make hundreds of clothing items, furniture, dentures, eyeglasses, and are paid up to $.50 per hour. Some inmates learn office and computer skills. Pride works with Florida employers to find long-term employment when inmates are released from prison and also with the reentry of inmates into civilian life.

This program is saving tens of millions of dollars for the people of the state of Florida by eliminating human suffering as well as the cost of incarceration. In addition it has been a proven success since 1982.

As a former corporate purchasing manager and now a corporate purchasing agent for pride, I can unequivocally attest to the success of the program.

Best Regards,
Richard Kanehl

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    Jan 31 2014: The number of inmates that PRIDE can work with on annual basis is only limited by the orders received from customers and funding generated through the sale of products produced. The catch 22, is that competing in the open market requires pride to be extremely competitive, therefore requiring a certain degree of automation. The automation works against hiring large numbers of inmate employees to manufacture the products needed. The key is to find a balance between your mission statement of rehabilitation against the requirement to maintain a self-sustaining business operation without external funding. Pride must acquire and maintain all equipment, facilities maintenance, hire staff personnel with fringe benefits, fund all marketing and sales cost, along with maintaining outreach programs related to inmate training, career development, and support services after release. In many ways we operate exactly as if we your a private business, except we have far more stringent rules and regulations as required by being a not-for-profit corporation and being classified as a instrument of the state of Florida.
    The operational concepts employed by PRIDE would work as well in any correctional facility whether or not it was federal, state, municipal government, or private correctional facilities. The overriding problem in setting up a program is trying to operate under the various regulations associated with being a quasi-government agency and competing as a private business.
    If you would like to know more about the specific details of how the program is run and how it could be adapted to other correctional institutions I would be happy to refer you to a knowledgeable corporate official. I am personally not authorized to act as a official representative for pride but I am simply offering the pride model for consideration of how to successfully structure a rehabilitation program that has exhibited over 32 years of successful operation.
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    Jan 31 2014: Yes, the main point is to keep looking at the programs that work well and find ways to expand them. The Florida program maintains a ratio of long term to short term inmates, which changes from time to time. In our Purchasing and Customer Services office ,we have guys that are in from 12 years down to 2 yrs.
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    Jan 31 2014: Hi Richard, and welcome to TED conversations.

    With a quick search, PRIDE looks like a great program, and I am all for teaching skills to those incarcerated, which might help support them, AND contribute to pride in themselves.

    In one comment, you write..."PRIDE can only annually work with about 2500-3000 of the 100,000+ inmates in the Florida State system".

    Does this mean that the program is only available in state prisons? Is it available in private and federal prisons in Florida, or is it limited to only state facilities?
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    Jan 31 2014: The difference is that the PRIDE program has been a proven patch to preventing reentry to a terrible life's path for 22 yrs. and has saved tens of millions in tax payer dollars. It should be initiated on a national level, not just in one state.
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    Jan 28 2014: This article from the New York Times this week offers a picture and links to the many promising experiments underway to grapple with the now pretty much universally recognized problems surrounding incarceration with America. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/opinion/keller-america-on-probation.html
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    Jeff z

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    Jan 28 2014: A better idea would be to reinvest the private prison system dollars into this type of system in order to restore a proper balance to the over crowded prisons in Florida where laws are stiff enough as it is. The only area I see issue is the wage, its simply too low. With the right investment and competitive environment I would hope to see that number increase. To be honest florida doesn't ask much tax wise anyway, so the money is there. Good luck with your efforts.
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      Jan 31 2014: A private prison system may be a better way, but it is s unproven, as is the 32yrs. of proven success of the PRIDE system. If given the option of years of testing or going with a proven success, I will always go with the proven success. On the salary issue, I think about the many interns I worked with in private industry, which gave undergraduates a head start towards successful careers. The PRIDE system gives many times the benefits to inmates as compared to the majority of inmates that receive no salary and little or no opportunities to turn their lives around and their future in the free world.
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        Jan 31 2014: I cannot validate or refute your statistics. However, I did find the following:

        Project 180 Reentry: Reintegrating former offenders in ...


        project180reentry.org

        45% of those housed in the Florida state prison system are repeat offenders. ... This is why we’re needed. Project 180, a 501(c)(3) ...

        45% is about the national average. I worked in the Arizona system and it is a revolving door.

        Perhaps private prisons could do well with low level first time offenders to keep them away from the "hardened" prison and gang societies. Not my area. Just a thought.

        If PRIDE did reduce the return rate to 11% .... the cost savings would be so great that all states would adopt that system.
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          Jan 31 2014: Yes , you are right. PRIDE can only annually work with about 2500-3000 of the 100,000+ inmates in the Florida State system. This is based on the amount of people needed to manufacture the products needed for contracts we have with the Florida Dept. of Corrections and other customers. The 11% return rate is only for the inmates that complete our program.The entire story of PRIDE is on the PRIDE Enterprises web site.
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        Jan 31 2014: Rich, We have the same thing .. it is called Arizona Correctional Institute (ACI). The reason that the return rate is so low is that the program can only use the lowest classification of inmates ... the good ones so as to speak. Most are serving one or two years and are not what I would call career criminals. They just want to do the time and go home.

        Thank you for the reply. Sounds more like it. Bob.