Inmate-made products to be showcased at Springfield open house

SPRINGFIELD - Starting Wednesday, products made by prison inmates in Illinois will be displayed in Springfield.

Goods, like outdoor furniture made from recycled materials, will be on display during Illinois Correction Industries' open house at the Illinois Department of Corrections' Concordia Campus.

According to Illinois Correctional Industries CEO Jen Aholt, organizers are hoping to attract businesses that could hire inmates.  Aholt says ICI's biggest customers are other state agencies, county and local governments, and nonprofit organizations.

Different prisons manufacture different goods, from signs in Lincoln to wooden furniture in Hillsboro.  Working inmates can make up to $1.40 an hour, with some of the money being sent to the state's victim fund, and inmates having the option to save the rest for after their release.

Aholt also says that inmates who are enrolled in work programs have a lower rate of relapsing into negative behaviors than the total inmate population.
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