CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — From toilet paper and license plates to processed meat and furniture, products made by Ohio inmates are becoming increasingly profitable as the state’s prisons act more like private businesses.
A report released this week shows that in fiscal 2013, Ohio Penal Industries made $7.8 million, the fourth straight year of increased profits.
The Chillicothe Gazette in southern Ohio reports that the profits represent a turnaround from a $4.6 million deficit in fiscal 2009.
That’s when prison industry programs were criticized for poor quality at higher prices that private industries.
To increase earnings, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction closed eight unprofitable prison industry shops.
By fiscal 2013, only three of 21 industry programs in 14 prisons across the state were in the red.