PRISONS AND RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
FACT SHEET # 1: JOBS
While prisons create jobs, these benefits do not necessarily aid the host county.
Findings from recent studies on prisons and rural communities in New York, Washington State, California,
Colorado and Missouri show:
* Residents of rural counties with one or more prisons do not gain employment
advantages compared to rural counties without prisons.
From 1982-2001, unemployment rates in rural counties in New York with one or more prisons were
consistent with unemployment rates in rural counties without any prisons.
* Rural counties hosting prisons received no economic advantage as measured by per
From 1982 - 2000, per capita income rose 141% in New York counties without a prison and 132% in
counties with a prison.
* Local residents do not fill most of the jobs in a new prison. Over two thirds of tax
revenue and other economic benefits associated with prison jobs leak out of the host
58% of the jobs at a Missouri prison were filled by individuals living in counties bordering the host
county and another 10% were filled by persons living in counties not immediately adjacent to the host
Only 40% of jobs in a prison in Corcoran, California were filled by residents of the host county.
* Local residents may not qualify for prison construction jobs. Much of the money from
prison construction flows out of the host county.
In Fremont County, Colorado, home to 13 prisons, the skills required for construction jobs were too
sophisticated for local tradesmen and required bringing in outside contractors and workers to build the
A prison in Clallam Bay in the state of Washington became a contentious issue for local citizens when
they discovered they were ineligible for the jobs and temporary jobs to set up initial operations were
filled by transfers from another prison.
An analysis of the major bids accepted for the construction of the Upstate Maximum Security
Correctional Facility in Malone, New York shows that none were fro