Fans who rent cushioned stadium seats for Nebraska Cornhusker games this fall will be sitting on the handiwork of state prison inmates, reports the Lincoln Journal Star. Fifty inmates have spent the past month putting together 18,000 stadium seats. They are among 550 inmates working within Cornhusker State Industries, which has put inmates to work for more than four decades. CSI is a $12 million a year business that employs about 12 percent of the state prison population, provides services for the prison system and markets products such as furniture and houses to government and nonprofit agencies.
The inmates make 38 cents to $1.08 an hour, said John McGovern, general manager. Eighty inmates who work for six private businesses that send work into the prison make at least minimum wage. But about 40 percent of their wages go to victim reparation, taxes, room and board and mandatory savings, McGovern said. The first goal of CSI is training, teaching work habits and skills to help inmates succeed in the outside world. The jobs also help maintain order. Inmates who want to continue to work for CSI can’t get into trouble, and they must maintain a 94 percent attendance rate.