use of prison labor in a productive capacity began almost a century
and a half before its formal recognition in New Jersey in 1918. From
its inception, the concept of Correctional Industries was to serve
two main purposes: to minimize prison disorder and to prepare inmates
for a successful life after release from prison.
as the State Use Division, established under the Department of Institutions
and Agencies. The production of license plates was the first formal
industry established by the division, and it is still in operation
today. By the end of 1933, State Use had twenty different industries.
In 1953, the
Division of State Use Industries became the Bureau of State Use
Industries. A couple of years later, New Jersey ranked among the
top three states in diversification of products, with 155 items
manufactured by thirty types of industries. By the end of 1961,
the number of industries had grown to thirty-three.
In 1976, State Use Industries
began reporting to the newly created Department of Corrections,
and in 1990, the trade name DEPTCOR was adopted.