Dziennik Polski has reported there are over 6,000 convicted felons employed outside the prison walls in Poland today. This number constitutes almost all inmates who are able to carry out employment without a special convoy escort.
The first picking order for working prisoners are from the “light offences” pool, inmates incarcerated for avoiding fee payments and alimony. These prisoners are usually serving sentences from six months to three years. Prison officers are reluctant to offer job opportunities to those inmates who are in prison on drug offence charges. Private companies sign contractual agreements with individual correctional services facilities, which then function as “recruiters” for the required positions. Some companies such as Alecop in Wolow have even erected production lines and warehouses on prison grounds, leasing land directly from the gaols. This form of employment guarantees worker availability and a cheap labor force.The average earnings of an employed prisoner is 468 zloty gross per month. After paying off debts, alimony and social security insurance a prisoner is usually left with 88 zloty on hand. Prisoners with vocational qualifications and trade certificates may earn somewhat more. Job descriptions include construction work, assembling of electrical equipment and textile tasks. The Swedish furniture company Ikea hires prisoners from Wolow to sew cushion covers and pillows. Krakow and Nowa Huta prisons facilitate companies such as Elpe Elektroprodukt, who hire workers for 5 zloty per hour to assemble heaters and lighting equipment.Andrzej Juszczyk, the vice president of Chemobudowa, a construction company in Krakow has nothing but praise for the prisoner workers the company hires from the Nowa Huta Correctional Facility. He told The Krakow Post “the prisoners work on three building sites and we haven’t experienced any problems. Sure there are small incidences here and there, but they have been so minor that they are not even worth mentioning. We are very happy with the arrangement.” This sentiment must ring true around the prisoner labor market, as the demand for such workers is growing. “We the employers see this as an opportunity for additional labor for us, but it is also a re-assimilation process into the work force for the prisoners,” adds Juszczyk. Chemobudowa has increased its inmate intake quota from 15 prisoners from last year to 30 today.