Santino, Town Purchase Prison-Made Furniture - Program Provides Taxpayer Savings, Gives Convicts Job Skills

Standing next to an array of office furniture and file cabinets that were made by New York State prisoners, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced the town’s use of an innovative New York State program that offers inmate-crafted items at a significant cost savings compared to typical private sector office furniture pricing.  At the same time, the state’s “Corcraft” enterprise provides convicts with marketable job skills that will be invaluable to them upon their release from prison. Joining the Supervisor at a press conference on the program were Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilmen Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne, as well as Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad.

“Hempstead Town is leading the way when it comes to saving taxpayers money,” stated Santino.  “By purchasing office furniture and equipment made by prisoners, we are getting good quality products at significant savings compared to private sector office furniture suppliers.  What’s more, we’re helping inmates develop skills that will help them become productive workers once they are released from prison.”

The latest collection of furniture purchased by the town and built by New York State prisoners includes desks, bookshelves, file cabinets and seating.  The total cost of the items, including delivery and assembly, was $7,449.60.  A cost comparison between the state’s Corcraft office furniture and comparable private sector items evidenced a savings of approximately $6,300 or 46%.

“Knowing that the chair you are sitting on or the desk you are using gave an individual a second chance at life is a great feeling, and I give credit to Supervisor Santino for taking advantage of such a wonderful program,” said Goosby.

Corcraft is a program within the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision that employs approximately 2,100 inmates and 288 civilians in 14 facilities across New York State. The goal of the program is to teach inmates work ethic and skills to help them reenter society as productive members.  The products they make include office furnishings, signs and graphics, metal storage shelves and cabinets and license plates.  Inmates are paid based on an hourly pay scale depending on seniority and skill level.

An example of the cost savings garnered through the Corcraft program include a four-door hutch which costs $408 through the state, while an office supply price for a similar unit was listed at $738.  Similarly, a two-drawer lateral file cabinet was listed for $899 at an office supply company, and the town paid $420 for the Corcraft equivalent item.

“As a former police detective, I know that giving inmates job skills and opportunities will help reduce recidivism once they are released from prison,” said D’Esposito.  “This initiative is great for taxpayers and for convicts who are seeking to rebuild their lives.”

“Putting prisoners to work and getting office furniture at substantial savings is a win-win proposition,” said Dunne.  “I applaud Supervisor Santino for embarking on this program.”

Santino indicated that the town is exploring an expansion of its use of Corcraft furniture.  Estimated savings of acquiring all office furniture through Corcraft could approach $46,000 annually.

“Buying office furniture that has been built by New York State prisoners is saving taxpayers a lot of money,” concluded Santino.  “And, this program is giving inmates an opportunity to turn their lives around.”