The Minnesota Department of Corrections (MDOC) manages the Affordable Homes Program (AHP), a prison work crew program that trains prisoners in construction, building, and remodeling low-income homes, while they serve time. Established in 1998, AHP was designed to increase affordable low-income housing in Minnesota while providing prisoners with occupational skills and positive work habits to help secure employment after their release from prison.
To be eligible for AHP, prisoners must a) be minimum security; b) have no outstanding misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony charges; c) have made no escape attempts in the last 5 years; d) have no history of sexual offenses; e) have no discipline violation in the last 6 months resulting in segregation or extended incarceration; f) pose no risk to the community; g) have a positive attitude; and h) be physically capable of performing the work.
AHP provides hands-on field training designed to help prisoners find employment in the construction industry after their release from prison. Work crews are made up of up to 10 prisoners who are housed in local correctional facilities, such as county jails, in order to be more accessible to the community that they work in.
Prisoners work four 10-hour days a week under the supervision of an MDOC employee who is a master tradesman. Each crew is supplied with a van for transportation and a trailer for their tools. Prisoners are paid an hourly wage that varies from $1.00 to $1.50 and is used to pay restitution, for release money, or is saved in an account until the prisoner is released.