All inmates are required to maintain a regular work assignment. Many work assignments are controlled through a Performance Pay System, which provides monetary payment for work.
Federal Prison Industries has a separate pay scale. Unit staff approve work changes and see that they are posted on the Daily Change Sheet.
Institutional maintenance jobs are usually the first assignment an inmate receives. These might include work in Food Service, as a unit orderly, or in a maintenance shop; however, most institutions have a significant number of inmate jobs in factories operated by Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR. Many institutions have a waiting list for factory
UNICOR employs and trains inmates through the operation of, and earnings from, factories producing high-quality products and services for the federal government.
Some examples of products and services UNICOR produces are electronic cable assemblies, executive and systems furniture, metal pallet racks, stainless steel food service equipment, mattresses, towels, utility bags, brooms, data entry, signage, and printing. UNICOR earnings fund other inmate programs, as well as pre-industrial training to prepare inmates for employment.