Montana inmate work program brings in millions, runs off revenue

At Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, many inmates wake up every day and go to work.

“This is just like a regular job on the street,” said inmate David Smith. “It’s from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, two breaks and a lunch, and they treat us as if this was a job on the street.”

Smith is just one of nearly 700 men and women in Montana Correctional Enterprises’ training program.

They make benches, license plates, clothes and more. Those products brought in over $20 million in fiscal year 2019.

NBC Montana asked MCE where that money goes.