Free to Work: Oklahoma Department of Corrections Company Rehabilitates Prisoners through Employment

By Carter, M Scott | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 22, 2011 | Go to article overview

Free to Work: Oklahoma Department of Corrections Company Rehabilitates Prisoners through Employment


Carter, M Scott, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Rhena Collins found her career the hard way.

Collins, a software specialist, had been married for 16 years. In 2001 she and her husband split. After that, things went downhill quickly.

"I guess you could say I fell into the wrong crowd," she said. "I was running around with the wrong people."

A year later, Collins was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamines.

Not long after that, she went to prison.

"I served five-and-one-half years in prison at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft," Collins said.

But unlike many inmates incarcerated in Oklahoma's correctional system, Collins - who has a natural head for business and technology - found a way to literally work her way out of prison.

Not long after being transferred from the Warrior to Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City, Collins applied for and eventually landed a job with Oklahoma Correctional Industries.

At OCI, Collins became a part of a prison industry program that, she said, turned her life around.

"I was a tutor at Hillsdale when I learned of OCI," she said. "Eventually when I got up here, I heard they had an opening, and I applied for the job. I started barking at the door to try and get them to hire me."

Part of her reasoning was simple: OCI treated inmates better than other places.

"I wanted to work at OCI because I wanted to work in my field and because here it felt like coming to a regular job," she said.

A part of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections rehabilitation program, OCI functions as a free-standing company providing agricultural services, furniture and other equipment and services to state, county and municipal governments.

"We're in many areas," said OCI administrator J.D. Colbert. "But we won't do anything that offsets private sector jobs."

So far, the division-turned-company has been a success.

A hybrid, nonappropriated division of the DOC, OCI generates between $15 million and $20 million per year. The company's revenues pay for the entire cost of its operation, including salaries for a staff of 56, buildings, materials, vehicles and utilities.

"We pay our own way," Colbert said. "We don't have any other choice. We have to."

And they're not just making license plates.

"It's funny," Colbert said. "But when people think of prison industry programs, they just think of license plates. We do a whole lot more than license plates."

In fact, Colbert said OCI manufactures or provides more than 7,000 products and services to its customers and four other state correctional industry programs. And a majority of those products are made entirely by inmates. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Free to Work: Oklahoma Department of Corrections Company Rehabilitates Prisoners through Employment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.