Federal PIECP Program Information Page
(Visitors are asked to visit http://criminaljustice.change.org/actions/view/enforce_federal_prison_industries_enhancement_certification_program_piecp_laws_2 where they can sign the petition calling for enforcement of the PIECP Program laws and an investigation into the allegations of violations occurring under that program's authority. Thanks...Bob)
Copyright (C) - Bob Sloan, 2010
The PIE program was begun under the authority of the U.S. Congress in 1979 (Title 18 U.S.C. 1761(c)) (for statutes and guidelines of the program see our Legal Section). The Legislative intent of this program , was to allow for partnerships between prison industries and private sector manufacturers, businesses and corporations to provide vocational training to prison inmates, providing them useable trades or skills in an effort to make them more employable upon release. The federal laws surrounding prison made goods was restrictive prior to the inception of the PIE program - no orders over $10,000 to U.S. Government agencies or departments and no sales or distribution(s) outside the state of manufacture. With the PIE program, these statutes were amended to allow for interstate sales, transportation and delivery of prison made products nationwide. Realizing that the introduction of prison made goods upon open markets would seriously impact private businesses and manufacturers, the Congress included 9 (nine) mandatory criteria for participants to abide by if they wished to participate in the PIE program.These mandatory requirements are:
1. Legislative authority to involve the private sector in the production and sale of prison-made goods, and administrative authority to ensure that mandatory program criteria will be met through internal policies and procedures.
2. Legislative authority to pay wages at a rate not less than that paid for similar work in the same locality’s private sector.
3. Written assurances that the PIE Certification Program will not result in the displacement of workers employed before program implementation.
4. Authority to provide worker benefits, including workers’ compensation or its equivalent.
5. Legislative or administrative authority to take deductions not to exceed 80 percent of gross wages for room and board; taxes (federal, state, local); allocations for support of family pursuant to state statute, court order, or agreement by offender; and contributions of not more than 20 percent, but not less than 5 percent of gross wages to any fund established by law to compensate the victims of crime.
6. Written assurances that inmate participation is voluntary.
7. Written proof of consultation with related organized labor before PIE Certification Program startup.
8. Written proof of consultation with related local private industry before PIE Certification Program startup.
9. Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and related federal environmental review requirements. (Emphasis added)
As you can see, the program's mandatory guidelines are straightforward and should be easy for participants to understand and comply with.
Unfortunately, compliance and oversight have deteriorated to the point that the prison industries and their partners have manipulated the program allowing them an unfair advantage over other private sector operations - $1.00 per year leases on up to 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing spaces, less than the prevailing wage requirements paid to inmate workers, sales to in-state consumers of prison made goods, in direct competition with private sector competitors, distributors and manufacturers. The net result to these prison industries and their partners is an increase in profits by the ability to undersell all competitors.
Please see PIECP Program Violations link on the left.