What is Inmate Labor?
The Oregon Constitution provides for full-time work or on-the-job training for all inmates. Inmate Labor is used to help operate the corrections institutions and to support other government and community organizations funded by taxpayers.
Inmate Labor comprises two programs:
- The Oregon Corrections Enterprise (OCE) administers a vocational training and work program ranging from fabricating metal and producing garments and textiles, to providing laundry service, contact center support, print and mail, and furniture production.
- The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) provides inmate work crews to public and private institutions to perform manual and skilled labor such as forestry work, parks maintenance, landscaping, building maintenance, roofing and painting, limited construction, and other projects.
Inmate work products and services are available to all Oregon public agencies and to any private enterprise of any state, nation or tribal nation. Income generated from the work programs is used for implementing, maintaining and developing prison work programs.
These programs are exempt from statutory competitive bid and purchase requirements.
When to Use Inmate Labor
The Oregon Constitution requires inmate work products and services be made available to all Oregon public agencies and that all agencies cooperate with the corrections director in establishing inmate work programs.
Agencies must consider inmate work products and services as the third source in the Buy Decision priority order specified in administrative rule (OAR 125-247-0200). Agencies may not elect to procure through a lower priority source, unless it is determined that the procurement need cannot be met.
How to Process Inmate Labor Procurements
The process to procure inmate work products and services varies based on which of the two inmate work programs the agency will use.
Products and Services Available Through OCE
For products and services, such as furniture, apparel, laundry or other services, an agency can search the OCE website. If one of the products or services meets the agency’s need, it must contact OCE to initiate a purchase. OCE can be reached through an online contact form, by phone at 503-428-5500 or 800-776-7712, or at
Services Available Through DOC
For manual and skilled labor services, supporting forestry work, maintenance, landscaping, roofing and painting, or other services provided by inmate work crews, an agency can search the DOC website. The agency should contact the Inmate Work Program Coordinator to obtain more information on determining inmate labor eligibility for the particular service needed. If it is determined that DOC can provide the service needed, the agency will work with DOC to complete the tasks necessary to execute a master agreement with the DOC.