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Joint Venture Programs

County Sheriffs: Questions & Answers

Last updated: June 29, 2021

Q: What is the Joint Venture Program (JVP)?

A: The JVP works with private businesses and non-profits to hire inmates in state or county facilities and pay them a comparable wage for similar or the same work performed within the locality in which the work is performed. The purpose is to allow employers who hire inmates to produce goods and services that may be sold to the public, and to prepare offenders for return to society by offering relevant job skills and work habits to increase success on parole.


Q: What are the benefits of setting up a joint venture program for the counties?

A: The JVP is a unique inmate program whereby everyone benefits from having joint venture programs in California; specifically:

  • Private Industry Sector; through providing a stable and readily available workforce.
  • Corrections Administrator; the program is a cost-effective way to occupy a portion of offender/inmate population.
  • Prisoner; the program offers a chance to work to meet financial obligations, to increase job skills, and thus potentially increase the ability to gain meaningful employment upon release from incarceration.
  • Public; because of inmate worker contributions to room and board, family support, victims’ compensation, and taxes, the program is a way to reduce the escalating cost of crime.

Q: What is the recidivism rate for JVP inmate-employees released on parole in California? How does this rate compare to the general inmate population released on parole?

A: The JVP recidivism rate is 9% which is significantly lower than the general inmate population.


Q: Are all goods and services produced by inmate JVPs restricted from selling to the public in California and/or from interstate commerce?

A: No, joint venture programs are the exception and are allowed to sell to the public and to trade in interstate commerce pursuant to California Penal Code 2717.7 and 18 U.S.C. 1761(c) respectively.


Q: Does the JVP create a special relationship between the county and the employer?

A: No, the “Joint Venture Program” is only the colloquial name of the program, and does not create or connote a “joint venture” partnership or any other business relationship with the employer and the county as defined under California law or any other law. The employer and their agents are an independent business entity and are not employees of the state or the counties of California.


Q: Are the leases/contracts between the correctional facility and private subject to competitive bids?

A: No, the JVP contracts are non-competitive and are awarded for five-year terms up to a total of twenty years.


Q: Are JVP projects subject to Request for Proposals (RFPs)?

A: No, by statute JVP projects are not subject to the competitive bidding process.


Q: What programs are given priority when establishing JVP projects?

A: Priority consideration shall be given to projects that will retain or reclaim jobs in California, support emerging California industries or create jobs for a deficient labor market.


Q: What inmates are eligible and who determines the inmate selection criteria?

A: The counties will select the inmates eligible to participate in the programs. This is based on their own inmate-selection criteria.


Q: Is the JVP intended for inmates who are on probation and/or home detention vs. those in facilities?

A: The JVP is available to all inmates who are not on parole. Whether in the facilities or on home detention, the counties would decide who is eligible to participate in the program.


Q: Is transportation envisioned on behalf of the sheriff’s department to move inmates to the worksite?

A: Provisions for transportation of the inmates to and from the worksite should be worked out by the counties with the joint venture employer.


Q: Is supervision expected by sheriffs’ personnel at the worksite?

A: The need for supervision by sheriffs’ personnel at the worksite is decided by the counties to maintain safety and security. The JVP employer will provide operational supervision.


Q: Who is responsible for implementing JVP projects pursuant to the Proposition 139 and the PIECP federal guidelines (April 1999 or most recent revision)?

A: The Administrator of the JVP. The Administrator will assist correctional facilities in implementing JVPs and assist and monitor joint venture employers.


Q: Who should I contact about setting up a jail industry enterprise?

A: Any questions about starting a jail industry enterprise or a joint venture program in your county should be directed to Anna Thornhill, Administrator, Workforce Development Branch (Joint Venture Program and Free Venture Program), at (916) 740-9422 or

Joint Venture Program Location