California Prison Industry Authority, Rehabilitation

UC Study: CALPIA participants less likely to return to prison

Incarcerated person takes job exam.
Incarcerated individuals took the entry-level Highway Maintenance Worker or Landscape Maintenance Worker exams at CSP-Solano in 2021.

New UC study finds CALPIA participants are less likely to be rearrested, reconvicted and reincarcerated

A new University of California, Irvine, (UC Irvine) study shows incarcerated individuals who participate within the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) have lower rates of rearrests, reconvictions, and reincarcerations compared to those who were qualified to, but did not, participate in CALPIA.   

“The results of this study validate what we have known all along, CALPIA most certainly works.” said CALPIA’s Acting General Manager Bill Davidson. “Incarcerated individuals gain valuable job training through our programs to become successful when they leave prison and that is definitely a win for them, their loved ones, and the State of California.”

The California Prison Industry Board recently approved the study entitled, “The Effect of Prison Industry on Recidivism: An Evaluation of California Prison Industry Authority.” The study was completed by Dr. Susan F. Turner and Dr. James Hess and through the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections at the UC Irvine.

CALPIA contracted with UC Irvine to determine the official recidivism rates among incarcerated individuals who participated in any CALPIA program. The study created statistically matched individuals with results showing that participation in CALPIA is associated with reduced offending overall.

“In my decades of evaluating correctional programs, not all show positive effects,” said Dr. Turner.  “It’s a welcome change to see these impressive findings for CALPIA.”

The study compared CALPIA participants with at least 6 months in the program and released between August 2014 and July 2018 with incarcerated individuals who were accepted into the CALPIA program and put on a Waitlist but were released before they could actively participate.

By three years after release, only 15.4 percent of CALPIA participants had been returned to custody.  In addition, only 20.8 percent of CALPIA participants had been reconvicted of a crime after three years of release.  The number of arrests among CALPIA participants were also lower than the rates for the Waitlist group.

“As a former Chief Probation Officer and now Prison Industry Board Member, I see first-hand the benefits of rehabilitative work programs, especially the ones offered through CALPIA,” said Board Member Mack Jenkins. “This UCI study confirms that essential job training inside prison supports successful outcomes in the community.”

The UCI study utilized 8,603 incarcerated individuals released from custody from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).  Of these individuals, 2,453 participated in CALPIA and 6,150 qualified for CALPIA but never had the opportunity to participate.

CALPIA is a self-funded state entity that provides job skills to approximately 7,000 incarcerated individuals at 34 CDCR prisons. CALPIA reduces recidivism and enhances prison and public safety by providing incarcerated individuals with life-changing training opportunities for successful re-entry into the community.

CALPIA’s program goal supports CDCR’s public safety mission by developing incarcerated individuals who have job skills, good work habits, basic education, and job support in the community, so that, when they are released, they never return to prison. CALPIA incarcerated individuals receive industry-accredited certifications that employers value.

“CALPIA thrives through partnerships with CDCR and employers,” added Davidson.  “When you hire a former CALPIA graduate to work for you in the community, you are hiring a highly trained, skilled, and dedicated employee.”

Read the CALPIA Recidivism Study: The Effect of Prison Industry on Recidivism (

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