NCIA and PIECP VIolations Page
What is this National Correctional Industries Association? The NCIA is a private corporate association that has been chosen by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to oversee and handle compliance investigations and reviews of the PIECP program.
A visit to the NCIA website will immediately make you aware that this is not the group you or I want in oversight authority of the federal PIECP program. A click on the link to "Who Are We?" brings up the following description of this "Association":
Who is NCIA?
The National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) is an international nonprofit professional association whose members represent all 50 state correctional industry agencies, Federal Prison Industries, foreign correctional industry agencies and city/county jail industry programs. Private sector companies that work in partnership with correctional industries both as suppliers/vendors and as partners in apprenticeship and work programs are also members.
NCIA provides many services that are designed to support professional development of correctional industries personnel at all levels. Through an annual national training conference, regional and local workshops, a comprehensive website and informative publications, NCIA keeps the field abreast of emerging technology, sales and marketing techniques, reentry strategies, the legislative climate, and the many success stores experienced every day by those associated with correctional industries.
In addition, NCIA administers the Training and Technical Assistance Project of the Private Sector/Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) for the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Activities under the PIECP grant program include: conducting reviews of PIECP programs and cost accounting center; providing technical support to PIECP applicants and programs via electronic means and our website.
We can't speak for you, but to us the foregoing statements by the oversight authority of the PIECP program presents us with a definite conflict of interest feeling. Every participating industry, member, their material suppliers, vendors and everyone else involved in the PIECP program are members of the NCIA! Keep in mind, that representatives of the Prison Industry must be an NCIA "member" and annual membership payments by the industry is not cheap see: http://www.nationalcia.org/?page_id=51 for annual fees information paid to the NCIA by each separate prison industry, based upon number of civilian employees they employ.
(Please visit the following site and check the credentials of the NCIA Board of Directors and confirm for yourself that each and every one of them also represent a state correctional industry while they serve upon the NCIA Board. http://www.nationalcia.org/?page_id=12)
Conversely, supporters of the NCIA argue that the BJA has actual oversight of the PIE program, and the NCIA only "assists" the BJA. However, a visit to http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/bja/piecp/bja-prison-industr.html#certification demonstrates the NCIA does far more than simply assist the BJA. This site explains:
"The National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA), the professional organization for prison industry employees, provides technical assistance for this program. Under a grant from BJA, the NCIA staff of volunteer correctional industry professionals assess programs for compliance with program requirements and provide onsite and telephone technical assistance to programs that are not in compliance. NCIA provides additional technical assistance by:
Responding to specific requests for help from participating jurisdictions.
Providing program information to government agencies, private-sector companies, journalists, professional businesses, labor organizations, and others interested in the program.
Offering periodic training to program participants.
Helping to shape program policy through development of program guidelines, quarterly program data summaries, and other documents in response to program needs."
The activitiy of assessing program compliance alone indicates more than mere assistance to the BJA. The fact that the NCIA officially performs assessments of their own participating industries, and members is enough to raise a question of inpropriety and conflict of interest. This is especially true where the association in question is performing under a federal grant paid for by taxpayers.
Seems to me "Providing program information to...others interested in the program" would allow simple answers to the four questions posed to the NCIA and the BJA by myself numerous times from 2003 through the present? I requested clarification and an explanation about PIE wages, in-state sales of prison made goods, minimum wage satisfaction of the prevailing wage question, etc. To date they have refused to "Provide program information" to me - of any sort.
I have been amazed for more than 5 years now that our government chose this association to oversee such an important program, knowing that their membership consists of the very people and industries that are to be overseen. Complaints to the BJA, DOJ and OJP fall on deaf ears. Questions about the "sense of impropriety" of this relationship go unanswered. Requests for investigations into the failure to oversee the PIECP program by the NCIA are ignored at the OJP and BJA level.
Our persistent questioning of the NCIA and presentation to them of a 2008 Independent Report on the PIECP Program that shone a light of negativity upon the NCIA were not only ignored by them, they requested we remove their email address from our database (see our files section for a copy of the email).
On June 16th I re-submitted the same 4 questions to the BJA once again. Hopefully this time around they will respond. I intend to present the same questions to the Deputy Director of OJP in an email later tonight.
Further down the who are we page they list: "How do Correctional Industries help build a better tomorrow?" section. They list five (5) topics. Four are loaded with statistical data but the main topic - "Facilitate Successful Reentry" they provide no statistical data demonstrating any successful reentry assistance numbers. We wonder, why is that?