Having spent the early part of his career as a military police investigator and as a narcotics officer in Alabama, Charles Pattillo has seen firsthand how job skills, particularly high-level skills, can make the difference between a repeat convict and a rehabilitated individual with a new career. When he joined the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA), the agency had a program in which inmates produced items such as license plates and shoes.
Pattillo thought that wasn’t enough. “We started developing programs that were nontraditional and nonexistent in the prison system,” says Pattillo, now CALPIA’s general manager. “We focused on construction and carpentry and ironworking. We knew the demand out there for trained people was huge.”