This program is allowing large corporations to utilize prisoners in manufacturing of their products. The PIE Program is being terribly abused by participating 38 state Prison Industries in a way that allows them to steal private sector jobs from hard working men and women in every state.
Federal oversight is provided by the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) which is an advocacy groups for prison industries, comprised of all state prison industries, managers and administrators.
The controlling laws are based upon model legislation adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This "training" program for inmates is being used to defer private sector jobs to prison industry and prison labor, enriching program participating companies and increasing unemployment in the U.S.
The Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) is being terribly abused by the participating 38 state prison industries. These participants are required to pay inmates in the program prevailing wages for their labor. 80% of their earnings are deducted for room and board, victim restitution programs, state and federal taxes. The prison industries are ignoring the federal PIE Program Guidelines mandatory requirements under Title 42 USC 1761(c). The violations render all shipments of prisoner made goods into interstate commerce illegal and punishable under 18 USC 1761(a) by two years in prison and/or a fine. In addition, thousands of our jobs nationwide are being sent behind prison fences, where wages are low, leases are cheap, utilities paid by the prison industries and inmates get no health or employee benefits, paid vacations, unemployment compensation, work comp or sick leave.
The partnership allowance under the PIE Program is being abused by program participants. Large corporations are using inmate labor to manufacture their products sold to US and foreign market consumers. Wages as little as $.20 per hour are being paid to inmates in the program. State prison industries are now introducing prison made products into the markets within their state of operation, using the PIE Program but not abiding by the PIE Guidelines. This manipulation and exploitation is causing jobs in the private sector to be shifted to prisoners, at a time when we need every job to remain in the hands of civilians.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has outsourced oversight and assistance with this program to the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) which is comprised of a membership of all the participating prison industries, federal prison industries, managers, administrators and directors of those industries. Regulation and actual oversight under the NCIA has become non-existent. Oversight by an Association that all those to be overseen are members of defeats the legislative intent of the law. The U.S. Department of Justice now runs all federal Prison Industries and more than 80% of state prison industries through the PIE program, yet oversight is in the hands of a private contractor.
The DOJ also assists the NCIA in recruiting more private manufacturers to close or move their private sector operations, lay off their workers and move their entire operation into prison facilities: http://www.minncor.com/partnershipvideo.wmv.
We ask that you review the PIE Program mandatory requirements and compare legislative intent against what is actually being done under the authority of this program. Further, we ask that you examine the relationship between the BJA, the NCIA and the state prison industries. If you find there exists unchecked violations of the federal statute and a conflict of interest also exists due to the make up of the NCIA, you take steps to transfer actual oversight back to the US Office of Justice Programs.
Until compliance is enforced, more and more jobs are going to disappear as unemployment statistics now demonstrate. The cry should no longer be "don't take our jobs overseas", rather "Don't send our jobs to prison."
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