Learning & Working Programs
The Department of Corrections (DOC) provides educational, vocational and work opportunities at each prison facility. Providing inmates with education and job training is part of the broader DOC effort to increase public safety and reduce recidivism. Some of the learning and working program opportunities for inmates include:
Impact & Outcomes
Inmate education is an important tool in the successful operation of the agency. For inmates with low levels of literacy (less than sixth grade), these programs provide the skills to understand Department policies and rules and enable participation in other programming areas. Inmate education accomplishes two major objectives:
- Prepares inmates for reentry into the community with basic academic education, job skills, and vocational training.
- Reduces idleness, lowers infractions, and improves behavior of inmates while incarcerated.
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) policies that apply to Learning & Working Programs.
- DOC Policy 500.000 Education & Vocational Programs for Offenders
- DOC Policy 500.100 Correspondence Education for Offenders
- DOC Policy 700.000 Work Programs for Offenders
- DOC Policy 700.100 Class III Offender Employment & Compensation
- DOC Policy 700.130 Electrical Construction & Maintenance
- DOC Policy 700.400 Class IV Off-Site Work Crew
- DOC Policy 710.400 Correctional Industries Class II Employment
- DOC Policy 790.100 Work Ethic Program
Laws & Regulations
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
DOC Policy 500.000 specifies education programs will meet with ADA requirements regarding reasonable accommodations for inmates with disabilities.
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
As pertains to the disclosure of inmate information, such as educational records.
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
As pertains to the reasonable accommodation in education programs for juvenile inmates with disabilities.
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) 115.32(a)-(c)
Requires the Department to ensure all volunteers and contractors who have contact with inmates have been trained on their responsibilities under the agency's sexual abuse and sexual harrassment prevention, detection, and response policies and procedures (DOC Policy 700.400).
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
- RCW 9.94A.690 Work ethic camp program & Eligibility & Sentencing.
Regarding an inmate's eligibility to be sentenced to work ethic camp (DOC Policy 790.100). Other applicable RCW's regarding inmate eligibility include:
- RCW 19.28 Electricians & Electrical Installations
As pertains to DOC Policy 700.130 Electrical Construction & Maintenance.
- RCW 28A.193.020 Solicitation for education provider – Selection of provider – Operation of program by educational service district.
Regarding the solicitation of an educational provider for the Department's juvenile inmates.
- RCW 72.01.365 Escorted leaves of absence for inmates – Definitions.
As pertains to verbiage in DOC Policy 700.400 Class IV Off-Site Work Crew.
- RCW 72.01.370 Escorted leaves of absence for inmates – Grounds.
Regarding the right of a prison superintendent to grant escorted leaves of absence to inmates to:
- Perform work in connection with the industrial, educational, or agricultural programs of the Department
- Participate as a volunteer in community service work projects
- RCW 72.09 Department of Corrections
- RCW 72.09.100 Inmate work program – Classes of work programs – Participation—Benefits.
Provisions for the creation of a voluntary inmate work program that does not unfairly compete with Washington businesses.
- RCW 72.60.102 Industrial insurance – Application to certain inmates.
Concerning eligibility for industrial insurance benefits of inmates employed in class I, II, and IV Correctional Industries work programs. See other applicable RCWs:
- RCW 72.09.460 Inmate participation in education and work programs – Legislative intent – Priorities – Rules – Payment of costs.
Regarding the legislature's intent that all inmates be required to participate in Department-approved education programs, work programs, or both, unless exempted.
- RCW 72.64.050 Branch institutions – Work camps for certain purposes.
Providing the Department Secretary the right to establish temporary camps for the employment of inmates in farming, reforestation, wood-cutting, land clearing, processing of foods in state canneries, forest firefighting, forest fire suppression and prevention, stream clearance, watershed improvement, development of parks and recreational areas, and other work conserve the natural resources and protect and improve the public domain and construction of water supply facilities in state institutions.
Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
- WAC 137-80 Correctional Industries & Programs
- WAC 296-307-13025 Pesticide safety training – Standards for pesticide handlers – 40 C.F.R., § 170.230.
Pertaining to inmate work crew participants who may require pesticide safety training (DOC Policy 700.400).
- WAC 296-800-170 Employer chemical hazard communication – Introduction.
Regarding the obligation of the Department to provide information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace to applicable inmate work crew participants (DOC Policy 700.400).
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) publications that apply to Learning & Working Programs.
- About Correctional Industries
- Correctional Industries: Changing Lives
- Community Employment Services
- Correctional Industries: Class I Partnerships
- Trades Related Apprenticeship Coaching (TRAC)
Fact & Data Sheets
Reports & Strategic Plans
- Correctional Industries Research Brief: Washington State's CI Outcome Evaluation, December 2015 (WSU)
- Leading Offenders to Work: Bridging the Gaps Between Prison, Community Supervision, and Employment (WSU, CI)
- Washington State Correctional Industries: An Outcome Evaluation of its Effect on Institutional Behavior, Employment, and Recidivism (WSU)