Discussion - PIECP Violations - Pg. 4
Failure by Program Participants to Identify Industries as PIECP to the BJA
The PIECP program requires each participating Prison Industry to identify and certify new and/or changes in existing operations as PIECP operations where the industry will manufacture PIE products or provide PIE services. Obviously this requirement is for the federal agency to have the ability to track, evaluate and review the procedures at participating prison industries. There does not appear to be a procedure in place for the BJA to actually look at individual industries and determine if they are or are not PIECP participating industries. The word of the Prison Industry authorities is taken at face value as to which industries are PIECP and which ones are not.
We made the foregoing determination when examining the operation of PRIDE's Union Food Manufacturing industry at Raiford, Florida in 2004 through 2006 and more recently when we were told about PRIDE's Institutional Products Industry located near Florida State Prison (FSP) at Raiford. In the case of Union Foods, I found that PRIDE had deliberately mis-informed their Corporate Counsel about the processing operations at the industry in an attempt to avoid certifying Union Foods as a PIECP qualifying industry. Upon his advice, they listed Union Foods as a "Service Industry". Service industries are just that, they accept products in one door and turn them out the other as the same product, i.e.; some industries refurbish auto transmissions. They receive a failed unit in, replace the used or worn parts, re-paint and fully refurbish the unit. The finished items are sent back to the original supplier.
In the case of Union Foods, they claimed that bulk meats and poultry were being received from ATL Industries in Atlanta, Georgia. They stated that the meats were to be ground, frozen, packaged and shipped back to ATL in Atlanta (we are in possession of the original letter sent to PRIDE's Counsel, Brewton outlining the processing and his letter back, stating the process as they advised was legal under state and federal laws). PRIDE was aware from ATL from the start, that the bulk meats were to be processed by the inmates and in the processing other ingredients such as flavoring, fillers, spices were to be added to the ground meat to form the finished food products - chicken, beef and pork patties. PRIDE was in possession of the recipes for the processing prior to their letter to counsel falsely claiming the industry was only grinding and returning the same meats back to ATL. They also had acquired ATL's customer list with shipping addresses prior to the operation and knew the finished patty products were to be shipped from their plant to destinations across the U.S. We provided this information to the PRIDE Board of Directors in early 2006 and at each subsequent Board Meeting in 2006. Finally in 2007 BJA quarterly reports finally listed PRIDE's Union Foods as a PIE operation.
From 2002 through 2007 PRIDE did not pay one cent in PIECP wages to the ninety (90) inmates assigned to work in the Food Processing Industry. Hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars in wages were lost to the inmate workers, with 40% of that loss legally earmarked for room and board deductions due the FDOC that were never paid. PRIDE's ability to circumvent the PIECP determination allowed this to happen.
In June 2008 we received information about PRIDE's Texile Factory near New River West CI. Inmate workers advised that PRIDE had a huge contract with a company called "Quality Banner" out of Ocala, Florida. Research we developed indicated the information was correct. PRIDE was manufacturing American flags and checkered flags for this private sector company. One order was for 117,000 American flags and another for 40 to 50 thousand checkered flags. We immediately brought the information to the attention of Secretary McNeil of the FDOC and requested he check into the operation as the DOC was entitled to 40% of the inmate wages if it was an operation that should have been certified as PIECP. Secretary McNeil's office was unable to find the Textile factory in his investigation. We later learned that during the query into the information given McNeil, PRIDE had changed the name of the Industry to PRIDE Institutional Products Industry. This "industry" has been listed with the BJA as a PIE industry for more than a year prior to our receiving a request to find out why inmates weren't being paid PIE wages on their work for Quality Banner. They listed the industry as having "0" employees throughout 2008. We contacted Quality Banner directly and requested purchase information on their flags and asked if we were allowed to purchase them from here in Indiana. They advised that their products were sold world wide and anyone could purchase any of their catalog items.
The updated information we had was provided to Secretary McNeil's office along with item descriptions and PO number on the Quality order and, as yet we have not heard back from him on this issue. In the interim many of the inmate workers at that industry were terminated and we lost access to shipping and other records from that industry.
If - as we suspect - this kind of avoidance of certifying a prison industry as PIECP is occurring nationwide, the impact upon all concerned is overwhelming.