Sentenced inmates are required to work if they are medically able. Institution work assignments include employment in areas like food service or the warehouse, or work as an inmate orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper. Inmates earn 12¢ to 40¢ per hour for these work assignments.
Approximately 18% of work-eligible inmates work in Federal Prison Industries (FPI) factories. They gain marketable job skills while working in factory operations, such as metals, furniture, electronics, textiles, and graphic arts. FPI work assignments pay from 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is required for all work assignments above entry level (lowest pay level) in either institution or FPI jobs.
The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) requires inmates to make payments from their earnings to satisfy court-ordered fines, victim restitution, child support, and other monetary judgments. Some inmates are assessed a Cost of Incarceration Fee, which is collected under the IFRP. Inmates working in FPI who have financial obligations must pay 50 percent of their earnings to the IFRP. Most fine and restitution money goes to crime victims or victim support groups through the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice.