Peru's Carceles Productivas (Productive Prisons) program generates US$30 million a year in sales of products crafted by inmates, the National Penitentiary Institute (Inpe) reported.
Inpe Head Carlos Vasquez explained the program's 224 workshops engage hundreds of offenders nationwide, thus contributing to their rehabilitation and social reintegration.
In said ateliers, inmates learn different trades like carpentry, metallurgy, metal-mechanic works, textile skills, among others.
In addition, the initiative strengthens the strategic alliance with the business sphere, benefiting "business people, inmates and society."
A new opportunity
In this respect, the program is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs to work with the country's prison population.
To this end, Inpe seeks to double the number of workshops and increase their competitiveness to meet market demands.
As for inmates, Vasquez noted the initiative targets first-time —and not persistent— offenders.
As an example, the Inpe representative highlighted the work of inmates at Chincha prison, who manufacture uniforms for the Peruvian Army, as well as those at Quencoro prison, whose handcrafts are later sold to tourists.
The penitentiary authority noted the objective is to provide inmates with technical skills so that —once released— they "do not relapse into crime and find a way to serve society."
During an activity on productive prisons and labor reintegration, Inpe underscored the success of Pieta project, an urban clothing brand by Lurigancho prison inmates.
Pieta's clothes are exported to Miami and Los Angeles, as well as to a number of French cities.
Similarly, Peruvian leather goods company Renzo Costa has been working with Ancon 2 prison since 2013, giving inmates the chance to make coin purses, handbags, belts, among others.
The Inca nation's jail population stands at 83,000, distributed among 69 penitentiaries across the country.
Productive Prison program is currently implemented in eight regions, including Arequipa, Cusco and Huanuco.