Prison industries have a long history within Minnesota, dating back to the production of twine in the 1870s, soon followed by the Minnesota Line of farm machinery. For more than 100 years, emphasis was placed on training and employing as many inmates as possible in these programs.
MINNCOR Industries was created in 1994 by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) to consolidate and centralize its individual facility programs into a single statewide business, as well as to increase efficiency and decrease reliance on the state’s general fund. MINNCOR exists for the primary purpose of providing offender job skill training, meaningful employment, and teaching proper work habits - without burdening the tax payer. Correctional industries provide a means to minimize offender idleness and reduce costly disruptive behavior, thereby significantly contributing to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment for both staff and offenders.
Financially self-sufficient since FY03, MINNCOR has demonstrated its ability to coordinate and maintain prison industries that are efficient, productive, and safe. Receiving no state subsidies, taxpayer dollars, or grants, MINNCOR offers premium products and services to various markets and industries. MINNCOR is located in six facilities throughout the state, utilizing approximately 1,300 offenders as its main workforce.
Today, MINNCOR runs a contemporary, cohesive, self-sufficient business operation featuring 18 diverse product lines. Strategically, MINNCOR endeavors to maintain diversification and avoid investing too heavily in any one area. It does not intend to become a dominant competitor in any particular segment. MINNCOR offers state and other government agencies an option for purchasing products through an easier and more efficient process.
MINNCOR serves as a subcontract manufacturer to many different companies located throughout Minnesota. By partnering with MINNCOR, companies have benefited from a flexible/skilled workforce, broad capabilities, quality products and services, timely delivery, and competitive pricing. MINNCOR provides these subcontract services to Minnesota businesses to open new opportunities for them by broadening their capabilities and increasing their workforce and physical space as needed. MINNCOR views this service as a key asset to Minnesota industries that choose to utilize our resources.
In 2006, MINNCOR created the EMPLOY program to help releasing offenders find employment and become productive, tax-paying citizens. Fully funded by MINNCOR, the EMPLOY program, MINNCOR’s post-release employment service, seeks to teach offenders to capitalize on vocational training and job skills learned while incarcerated and apply them to employment opportunities once released. EMPLOY staff provides employment readiness training, viable leads, and employment support to released participants.