(1) The corporation may operate or contract with the private sector for substantial involvement in a prison industry enhancement (PIE) program that includes, but is not limited to, contracts for the operation of a direct private sector business within a prison and the hiring of inmates. Any contract authorized by this subsection must be in compliance with federal law governing inmate work programs and must not result in the significant displacement of employed workers in the community. The purposes and objectives of this program are to:
(a) Increase the benefits to the general public by reimbursing the state for a portion of the costs of incarceration.
(b) Provide purposeful work for inmates.
(c) Increase job skills.
(d) Provide additional opportunities for rehabilitating inmates who are otherwise ineligible to work outside the prisons, such as maximum security inmates.
(e) Develop and establish new models for prison-based businesses that create jobs approximating conditions of private sector employment.
(f) Draw upon the economic base of operations for deposit into the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund.
(g) Substantially involve the private sector and its capital, management skills, and expertise in the design, development, and operation of businesses.
(h) Provide the financial basis for an inmate to contribute to the support of his or her family.
(i) Provide for the payment of state and federal taxes on an inmate’s wages, which are paid at the rate of the prevailing or minimum wage rate.
(j) Provide savings for the inmate to have available for his or her use upon the inmate’s eventual release from prison.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, including s. 440.15(8), private sector employers shall provide workers’ compensation coverage to inmates who participate in prison industry enhancement (PIE) programs under subsection (1). However, inmates are not entitled to unemployment compensation.