Thanks for the communication regarding your plans for CCI in Wakita, Ok., and my objections to the building of that facility - Habilitation House.
As you probably gathered from my articles, blog or other postings on this matter, I am opposed to your concept. There are several reasons for my opposition - the main one being I believe the concept abridges the separation of Church and State.
Since your discussions with Governor Bush in Texas back in 1995 or so, I watched Bush expand upon faith based initiatives and take the idea to Washington. Your presentation to him outlining the use of inmate labor under the PIE Certification Program drew my attention. I researched your material on Habilitation House and how it would be operated, paying particular attention to the Prison Industry operation and how you proposed to pay the inmates "minimum wage" for their labor.
I don't know if you are -or aren't - aware of the actual federal requirement to pay inmates in that program "prevailing wages" for their labor. In either case, payment of minimum wage to inmates participating in PIECP is only allowed under one or two specific and extraordinary circumstances. Thus I believe your suggestion of paying less than prevailing wages to the inmates in your proposed industry is violative of the actual PIECP Guidelines and 18 USC 1761(c).
Currently there are several prison industry operations in Texas - and indeed across the US - that are at the present time paying inmates the state or federal minimum wage (in lieu of prevailing wages) for their labor. The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Justice Programs is currently investigating this practice with documents received from Florida's prison industry. They are attempting to determine the legality of paying inmates in the program less than the wages paid to workers on the outside.
Media articles and documents I've accumulated indicate to me that you intend to work inmates for less wage than they are entitled to under federal law. This adds one more operation to the huge number of prison industries already exploiting inmates for their labor by violating PIECP's mandatory requirements. For this reason alone, I am hugely opposed to your proposed operation.
In addition, as I mentioned above, I believe your proposal of the Habilitation House would negate the requirement of the separation of Church and State. While I applaud any activity that provides spiritual or religious offerings to those unfortunate enough to be in prison, I am against the implementation of a "Christian" facility such as you propose in Oklahoma (and have proposed to at least six other communities in Texas and Oklahoma over the past 15 years). My arguments are the same as those who have opposed this operation on the grounds of religion being too closely involved with state responsibilities toward prison inmates. As a practical matter I oppose all prison privatizations in the U.S. I strongly feel that if a state or government takes on the responsibility of enacting and enforcing laws on behalf of their citizens, they should also bear the responsibility for housing, caring, feeding and all aspects associated with incarceration.
Incarceration of humans should be borne by those doing the incarceration. Instead many states now have privately owned and operated prisons doing their work for them. This function allows inmates to be "out of sight and out of mind" of both the state government and communities who sent each inmate to prison.
Private prisons work the inmates in industrial settings (not all of them, but enough) to make a profit from their labor that is in addition to the tax dollars they receive for housing and care of those inmates. Rehabilitation is no longer a requisite for these facilities, rather the bottom line and whether or not a profit is made is the defining tool. Prison should not be a "Profit-Making Enterprise", it should be a necessary tool of the state or federal government that serves to protect the citizens while turning the offender into a responsible member of society upon his or her release. Sadly this is just not the case in 2010...it's all about the money.
If your proposal contained no intention of using inmate labor in the PIECP program I would feel much better but still have the reservations I've voiced herein, on the strong web woven between Church and State. Sadly, I see much too much of that of late. Religion and Religious organizations are taking part in every aspect of government anymore - including our state and federal elections. Like many concerned citizens I am worried by this religious involvement in non-religious matters. Many Churchs and ministries are active inside prison to counsel and minister to prisoners. I have no objection to that, as I said previously. Many also provide assistance to recently released men and women for housing, food, jobs, clothing and counseling. Again, that provides no opportunity for anyone to find fault with those efforts.
Many states now have faith based prisons or segregated dormitories that house inmates who are ministered to on a daily or weekly basis. This worries me...as having been there I've witnessed such facilities and personally knew many inmates who participated. They behaved themselves in their dorms (as they had extra privileges in those housing units) but did not change objective behavior on their assigned jobs or at recreation. They just wanted the ability to be housed where it was quieter and where there was less chance of being assaulted or worse. They had no real intention of actually changing their behavior or in learning or practicing religion or religious beliefs. Don't get me wrong there are a few who actually participated and changed their attitudes and life around from such participation, but they were not the norm - at least in Florida.
I don't know if I have fully explained my reservations to you or not. I hope you don't take offense - as nothing said was intended for that purpose. Just as you have your calling to implement Habilitation House I have mine to protect inmates from exploitation and being used as cheap labor for corporations who wish to make a fast and continuous buck off the backs of those who have no voice or choice.
My name is Carla Weatherford, I am an ex offender of the state of Texas and a volunteer with Corrections Concepts Inc. I have read your article on CCI and am very curious on exactly where you got your so called research information from. If you had researched the correct information and contacted Bill Robinson himself then you would know without a doubt that Habilitation House is not a private prison nor is it intended to force any of it's residents to be there. As an ex offender I know that each state has it's own regulations when it comes to incarceration even with federal regulations in place. Everyone will agree that the prison system as is, is not working in the areas of rehabilitation or reform in placing or reintroducing inmates into society as law abiding productive members of society and with the laws that are in place at least here in the state of Texas it is set up for the return of said inmates 'RECIDIVISM The prison system is set up to fail FAILURE in the prison system assures their success.
I could sit here and go on and on about the pro's and con's but before doing so I would like to suggest that you get your facts straight and accurate before you blast anyone or anything, seriously this is a blatant form of attack that is just used to further your beliefs and nothing more. I hope that you will contact Mr. Robinson and do a better and more in depth research before you proceed with any more of your misleading and misinformed articles. I am including Mr. Robinson's number so that he can address any and all issues that you are misinformed about! I want you to know that CCI minister's to the families of those who are incarcerated as well as those who are incarcerated. Bob, I believe that even you will agree that prison's as they exist need to change.
Like you I am an ex-offender and served time in Florida in the 80's. I am fully familiar with the atrocious atmosphere, treatment and other aspects of today's prison facilities. I agree with most of what you have said; about ministering to the families of offenders and offenders themselves, that offenders will be placed there voluntarily and that most prisons are in dire need of change.
That being said, I have to disagree with your suggestion that I "get my facts stratight" and that I do so before "blasting anyone". In an effort to demonstrate to you where I got my facts I have attached a file from my documents section that corroborates what I have said and written on this subject. Actually most of the words I used came indirectly from Mr. Robinson himself. As you can read from the attached, he proposed the use of inmate labor at "minimum wage" in a PIECP industry to be located at the Habilitation House facility.
Sadly some of the concepts he pitched to Texas' Governor Bush in 1995 was carried by Bush to Washington in 2000 and resulted in a mass corruption of the PIECP program that included reduction of inmate wages to comport with the suggestion made by Mr. Robinson, that inmates receive "minimum wage" for their labor.
I am not interested in attacking anyone, Ms. Weatherford. However, if I research an issue important to me, I acquire documents to research the issue in an effort to factually establish my argument(s). If the documents I obtain demonstrate that my position is correct - then and only then do I publish my opinion on that particular issue. If research clearly and definitively point a finger in the direction of a particular person, agency, organization - secular or non-secular - I believe the information should be made public. As I said, read the attached and you will understand the basis for my position on inmate wages and Habilitation House.
The attahced led me to review documents and letters to and from Governor Bush as well as several of his Executive Orders establishing the White House Office of Faith Based Community Initiative (WHOFBCI) in each of our federal agencies and departments: Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, State, etc. His actions led directly to a merger of Church and state throughout our nation's most important departments. While I am not an atheist, conservative, evangelical or conservative evangelical such as Dr. Drapper, I am a Christian and the webs drawn between church and state give me great cause to be worried. There is a reason for the separation of religion and Church from our government - state and federal. I won't bore you with reasoning I'm sure you've heard before. Suffice to say that church/state relationship when coupled with the expanding practice of privatizing prisons, prison health care, prison food service, canteens, etc. put offenders and their families (those with no or little voice in government) right in the bull's-eye of everyone. Prisons of today are more concerned with profits than rehabilitation and private prisons receive the most.
If Oklahoma authorities saw fit to sanction the building of Habilitation House, to be run by "Christians" where "Christian" offenders nearing release would be housed and "ministered" to daily, I believe that would be illegal. Since I know you would ask why I have such a belief, I'll state it to you herein:
- it would be discriminatory. If a state operated a prison that house only Muslims, Jews, blacks or Hispanics the federal government would halt it immediately. Just as any state operated facility or department is prohibited from employing only one class of individual or citizen, it is similarly prohibited from incarcerating only one class of person in a particular facility. All prisons have been forced to end racial or other segregation determinations due to race, color or religious beliefs. Every prison must house black, white and hispanic offenders at their facilities without even segregating them in separate housing units.
- this would open the door to state prisons choosing to house different "classes" of offenders at separate facilities - thus segregating them from all other classes.
- this would also open the door for Muslims, Jewish or other religious factions to demand they be allowed a facility where those offenders of their faith would be housed with similar requirements of it being voluntary and their being ministered to in their faith by those of a similar or same faith.
- requiring the offenders to volunteer to participate in daily " religious ministering" in order to stay in the facility is also discriminatory. What if the offender is a devout Muslim, Buddhist or Jew with beliefs other than Christian? A state cannot dictate that an offender must submit to being ministered to by or in the Christian Faith in order to be housed in Habilitation House.
- the inclusion of a prison industry at the facility that will participate in the federal PIE Certification Program under 18 USC 1761(c) where inmates will work for "the prevailing wage...or the current minimum wage as entry level" (Mr. Robinson's words on page 8 of the attached) would be improper and violative of 18 USC 1761(c). That statute requires the payment of prevailing wage - not the minimum wage. This is an issue that concerns all of us. Paying less in wages to an offender in a prison industry dilutes the private sector wage of those non-prisoner employees doing the same job in the locality of the prison. Minimum wage can only be paid in specific special circumstances by the statute. Inmates are to receive prevailing wages. If a welder in Wakita, Ok. earns $22.00 per hour for his labor, the inmate is to receive the same wage - not less as a "trainee" or prison inmate.
My area of expertise is in prison industry labor and wages. As I explained earlier to Mr. Robinson, that is what caught my attention in his proposal to Governor Bush in 1995 and started me investigating CCI, Habilitation House, Mr. Robinson and Dr. Drapper. Since 1990 many individuals, prison authorities, prison industry administrators and their private sector PIECP partners have used PIECP as a tool to reduce the costs of incarceration through deductions from the inmate worker's wages to offset those costs normally borne by state taxpayers. 20% to 50% of an inmate's earnings are allowed to be kept by the state for "room and board" and these funds translate to profits earned by the department through the industry. In some cases those deducted dollars are kept by the prison industry to offset their costs of operation and thus save no money for the taxpayer.
The foregoing paragraph explains why so many huge corporations are using PIECP to utilize cheap inmate labor to increase profits and because inmates do not get paid vacations, sick leave or health insurance. Companies like Victoria's Secret, Microsoft, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and hundreds of others do not use prison labor because they are civic minded and genuinely want to train inmates to make them better able to be employed upon release...they do it because it saves them millions in overhead.
PIECP is intended to be used as a "tool" to train inmates in jobs and teach them skills that they can use upon release to secure employment and earn a living and not return to prison. That is the objective but over the past two decades it has changed to profits. Once businesses learned about the program they began to exploit it. Unfortunately the program now has been so abused it can't be recognized from the original Legislative intent established in 1979.
The inclusion of PIECP in Mr. Robinson's proposal set off several red flags to those of us in my field. This led us to this place in time and discussion. If after reviewing the attached you wish to further discuss this matter - amicably without accusations - I am open to that. I have already sent an email to Mr. Robinson with most of these arguments outlined.
Mr. Sloan, I am in receipt of your response to Carla Weatherford’s e-mail to you and your copy to me. I am going to address your complaints but it doesn’t change my pointing out your lack of courtesy in “visiting with me before you launched your tirade.” The media even contacts the subject of a story for a response before it is published. Augustine said, “Courtesy is conceived in character.”
My first issue is the same as I have with anyone on a crusade, What is your motive? Who do you represent? Is it the industries that claim unfair competition from PIE participants? That was settled many years ago when Fred Braun won the lawsuit against him and Zephyr Industries. The Judge said it was not unfair because those industries had the same opportunity to hire inmates and sell their goods and services. Is it the inmates? I think not. I can’t find any evidence in your web site that any inmates were interviewed and/or objected to the opportunity to work, learn a marketable skill, be paid “ the prevailing wage for that locality or the Federal Minimum Wage”, compensate their victims, support their families, have a spending account, and a savings account upon their release from custody. Is it the atheists, agnostics, or the Christians In Name Only, (CINO)? When the Seventh Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling in favor of the State of Wisconsin and Faith Works, Presiding Judge Posner interrupted the Plaintiff’s attorney with this question, “What are you people afraid of? Are you afraid that the ranks of atheist prisoners will be thinned”
The motive of Corrections Concepts, Inc, (CCI)(501(c)(3) is to change criminals into law-abiding, citizens with a work ethic, moral compass, marketable skill, and the ability to make positive choices in society. Habilitation House is not a “private prison”. Unlike the for-profits, the contract for the inmates is with the Town of Wakita, not CCI. We are the manager. Wakita will own the facility. The inmate selected to be transferred to Habilitation House must be 12 to 30 months from his earliest release date and be willing to sign a Resident Participation Agreement. He must volunteer to come and his “worship practices will be accommodated without interference, hostility, or discrimination.”
As to your raising of church –state issues, we have an opinion letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC) that says because CCI is a “religious organization” we are allowed to hire “people of like faith without recourse”. As to the Constitutionality of the selection of the residents, The American Center for Law and Justice, (ACLJ) has agreed to represent CCI, the Town, the participating jurisdictions on all First Amendment and Constitutional issues all the way to Supreme Court Pro-Bono. The ACLJ filed a 14 page Memorandum Brief in our behalf with the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.
If all the Guidelines were met, would you find the PIE program commendable? I doubt it. It goes to your motives. CCI fully intends and commits to strictly following all PIE Guidelines. We will consult with local unions although that was settled at the national level. We will consult with all local businesses. We will not displace local workers. I resent your aligning us with U.S. Technologies. We had nothing to do with that Wakkenhut, (GEO) unit at Lockhart or any of its industries. We will pay the “ local prevailing wage” for all job descriptions. I have attached a letter from the former Red River County Judge where we operated a PIE program in the County Jail for out-of-state inmates there under contract with Red River County. Our program was audited twice and at that time Red River County held PIE Certification, which was later, surrendered to the state of Texas as part of a compromise.
Whatever your motives; Whatever your reasons; The PIE program is not lacking for enemies. They include apathetical politicians, antagonistic agencies, and adversarial wardens. Also, evangelical Christians are not lacking for enemies outside the church and within the church.
I am a PIE disciple and a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “Let him that stole, steal no longer but labor with his hands so he will have something to give to those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). The Bible also says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen watch in vain.” (Psalms 127.1)
I would suggest you go to our web site www.correctionsconcepts.org and navigate it in its entirety as you say you research thoroughly. Then contact me for any further discussion. I am candid, transparent, with no secrets. Should you choose to be against Habilitation House then I want you to oppose it for what it is and not what it isn’t.
The rules of formal debate are clear. If you choose or are assigned the negative side of the question, your first obligation to avoid disqualification is to offer an alternate plan. If you have no plan to instill a work ethic in offenders; no plan to compensate victims, no plan to reunite families, and no plan to prepare an offender for a law-abiding life in the free world, you are just another naysayer beating the drum of futility
“On that day, all believers will stand in front of Jesus to give an accounting of their deeds and misdeeds, their actions and inactions. As to the unbelievers, they would have already been judged.”
As explained on my site, I am an ex-offender who served time in Florida in the 80's. While incarcerated I worked for the prison industry for more than 5 years as an architectural engineer designing furniture, modular offce systems and headed the company's "Tiger Team" that designed, developed and tested new products for the industry. During my tenure with PRIDE (Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises) they were not involved in the PIE Certification Program, though this federal program was in it's infancy. Since that time I have learned about PIE and researched several state operations under the federal guidelines.
PIECP was brought to my attention by inmates complaining that they were working under this program but could find no information on it. They were receiving the federal minimum wage in some instances and in others they did PIE work and were only paid prison wages of between $.20 and $.50 cents per hour for their labor. These complaints came from Florida, Arizona, Texas and California. I diligently contacted the Bureau of Justice Assistance and inquired as to the parameters, requirements and circumstances that allowed prison made goods to be manufactured by prisoners for sale or distribution on the open markets. They provided me with a copy of the 1999 PIECP Final Guidelines and informed that nine "requirements" were mandatory and a prison industry had to be "certified" as being in full compliance prior to start-up of operations.
When comparing the actual operations of the prison industry operations in the state's mentioned above to the mandatory requirements I discovered that the state's prison industries were not in compliance. All of them were substituting minimum wages for prevailing wages, deductions for room and board were being re-diverted back into the prison industry coffers, profits from the prison industry were, in some cases, "loaned" to for profit corporations owned by members of the prison industry without repayment requirements or interest. In effect this latter violation was money laundering - to the tune of $19 million dollars in Florida alone. Most of this money was acquired through participation in PIECP. The affiliate corporations owned by the Board and Administrators of the prison industry corporation were developed in 1999 to take financial advantage of PIECP.
I contacted the Florida and federal authorities in 2003 advising them of the criminal acts being conducted by this Florida prison industry corporation. I provided documents, inmate letters, bills of lading, tracking charts and other pertinent information to the authorities. When the dust settled in 2004 the Corporate CEO, President, CFO and some members of the Board were ordered to resign. The satellite corporations they founded and operated were required to pay back the money loaned to them and changes were made at the state and corporate level purportedly to prevent such activities from happening again. During this investigation the Secretary of the Florida DOC was indicted for kickbacks and corruption stemming from a scheme between top DOC officials and Keefe Commissary. He and another of his administrative director's are now serving sentences in federal prison on those charges. The Secretary was also a member of the prison industry Corporate Board of Directors at the time the money laundering and other violations were taking place.
In an effort to understand how these prison industries could operate in such open violation of the federal laws, I began to investigate the federal agencies responsible for oversight of PIECP. I discovered that the BJA had responsibility for establishing the rules of PIECP, amending them and for enforcing compliance. In the same year you approached Governor George Bush in Texas with your proposal on HH, the BJA "outsourced" actual oversight of PIECP to a private, non-profit organization - the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA). I discovered that every one of the NCIA's Board were administrators, CEO's, President's or high ranking employees of state prison industries nationwide. The membership of the NCIA is composed completely of personnel employed by the various state prison industries, their suppliers, vendors and others associated with prison industries. In effect, through the NCIA the prison industries were overseeing themselves. Complaints I made about operations and violations of the federal statute fell on deaf ears at the NCIA. Every complaint duly made to the BJA and DOJ were referred back to the NCIA for investigation and response. Not one investigation was undertaken by them nor any response given.
I tell you the foregoing so you might have some understanding as to my motives. I am interested in protecting the prisoners who are being worked without receiving the required wages. I also work to prevent the loss of private sector jobs to prison industry operations - a factual result of the lack of oversight and desire for corporate gains rather than training and job placement of inmates upon release. There in Texas hundreds of good private sector jobs have been lost to prison industry. PIECP Partner corporations and businesses have closed up their private sector operations and moved production entirely behind the prison fences. This is a direct violation of one of the mandatory PIECP requirements - that a partner business must keep their non-prison production in operation and not displace workers or reduce their benefits. Lockhart Texas and Geo's prison industry operation there is a perfect example of how jobs were lost, profits made by the PIECP partners and wages depressed. Lufkin Industries, Trailer Division, back in 2008 in Lufkin, Texas is another prime example. Lufkin had to close their operation and terminate or transfer more than 150 private sector employees. Lufkin resulted in the passing of HB 1914 last year to prevent more jobs being lost to prison industries.
I am not an athiest but a Christian who does not wear his religious beliefs on his sleeve - or quote scripture to get my point across. I also am straight and to the point, and am interested in helping released offenders - and those nearing release. I have attached a program proposal now being considered by the federal Bureau of Prisons, Indiana DOC and Florida DOC authorities at this time. It suggests training inmates in the building trades and associated fields to rehab run down or abandoned properties and rehabing them for use by released ex-offenders and their families. I work behind the scenes when I can and travel to Florida, Texas and other states to appear at Legislative hearings, Appropriation hearings and other important governmental meetings where prison labor and PIECP are involved.
I work with, communicate with and have a rapport with the current Secretary of the FDOC and InDOC on issues related to PIECP and prison industry operations. Your letter alleges that you have the support, clearance and backing from numerous agencies, officials and organizations pertaining to your proposed prison facility at Wakita, Ok. If this is the case why have you and CCI been so unsuccessful over the past decade or two in establishing the actual facility? Why are the state's you offer the proposal to inclined to refuse to allow this operation? I doubt that the statement made by one of your attorney's about the "devil" being involved against you is factual. Rather I believe it is because most authorities with the ability to give a nod to your concept realize the discriminatory problems that would flare up following their approval.
PIECP has been so bastardized over the past 20 years that it is no longer recognizable as the same program - though the Guidelines nor statute have changed in all that time. This has happened becaue private enterprise found the use of prison labor profitable and have merely taken control of the program and the BJA and other agencies are either unable or unwilling to enforce the program's requirements. Too much money is being made and passed on to state and federal Legislators through lobbying to enable any real reform to take place. Your correspondence leads me to believe you are well read and on top of current events and if so, then you know how China, Korea and other countries are exploiting prison and child labor for profit. We disallow any product from entering our country if it was manufactured using prison or child labor...however, PRIDE in Florida and California and Texas prison industries are using prison labor to manufacture goods and products that are being distributed internationally! Does this not make you wonder why the U.S. has such a double standard on this issue? To me it's clear...money in the form of profits.
For a better understanding of my position on and about the issues, please review the article I wrote that was published in March in the Prison Legal News (attached). If after reading you still believe I do not have the inmate workers or private sector workers or small business owners interests at the forefront, there is no need for more discussion. If you need other confirmation of that, go out to Scribd.com or to http://www.docstoc.com/profile/gndlf1
. The later site has over 200 documents I've compiled over the past few years that are available to anyone who wishes to research prison industry in the US. Read up on PRIDE in Florida...or UST and how they used inmate labor to bilk millions out of their investors...or about how PRIDE literally stole several private sector companies and took over their entire business using inmate labor.
In closing I want to again say that I applaud ministering to offenders and their families. I encourage any program or efforts that will assist ex-offenders in securing employment or housing. I just am not convinced that your concepts about HH with a prison industry run by Christians with Christian inmates is a good idea. I realize your proposal is not for a "private prison" operation, rather a joint operation under municipal or state authority and oversight...but it is still a proposal from an evangelical christian viewpoint and most state agencies, department and authorities are not yet ready to support an operation such as you propose.
In an effort to make it more palatable to others maybe you should revise your operation to include a prison industry that is not certified as PIECP. It would limit your ability to sell on the public markets or overseas, but would allow an industry whereby you could train offenders and provide them with the skills and knowledge to make them more employable upon release. In most states this kind of industry can sell products or services to other state agencies, departments, non-profits, schools, universities and DOC facilities. Less profit but if you genuinely want to improve the employment opportunities of offenders once released such training can be had without competing with private sector manufacturers or businesses and accomplish the same goals.
Mr. Sloan, I don’t know whether to be angry with you are to feel sorry for you. I am most angry for your daring to suggest our endorsers were connected to some nefarious PIE investment schemes. Their integrity is without blemish. You chose to ignore everything I said to you. I addressed every one of your concerns but you evaded all of my answers.
You refused to answer my question, “If all the Guidelines were met, would you find the PIE program commendable?” You could not afford to agree because that would derail your crusade. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, (the Ministers of Misery) ignore any successes in racial equality because that would put them out of business.
You ignored my reference to the Fred Braun and Zephyr Industries Federal Court decision because that would deny any unfair competition claims by competitors to PIE program participants.
You ignored my defense of Christians being constitutionally allowed to provide corrections services for a per diem to Departments of Corrections, (DOC) with out interference. I pointed out the offer by the American Center for Law and Justice, (ACLJ) to represent all parties pro-bono on all First Amendment issues and having filed a Memorandum Brief with the Justice Department in that defense. I also pointed out the Opinion Letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC) based on the paragraph on Exceptions and Exemptions in the Title 7, 1964 Civil Rights Act granting religious organizations the right to hire “people of like faith.”
You continued to call Habilitation House a “Christian prison” despite the declaration that all faiths would have the opportunity to volunteer to be transferred there and their “worship practices would be accommodated without interference, hostility, or discrimination.” All this is in the web site that you obviously avoided.
We are not interested in what others are doing. We are not interested in scandals, corruption, or compliance failures. We are committed to turning criminals into productive
citizens by: 1. A curriculum that provides them with a moral compass for reentry into society; 2. An atmosphere of positive- choice making with mentoring role models; 3. A marketable job skill with academic back-up while, (according to PIE Guidelines) paying them the “prevailing wage, (for all local job descriptions) or no less than the federal minimum wage”; 4. Providing an education from GED to high school diploma, to college credits; 5. Addressing and correcting their medical, dental, and mental health shortcomings, And finally, 5. To provide fully funded mentoring and monitoring services upon their release, for as long as it takes for successful reintegration. Savings from their wages would insure a jump- start toward transportation, housing, clothing and food.
But, you would have known all this if you had not ignored our web site documentation.
You also ignored the attached letter from Judge Williamson of our successful PIE program of a full-service travel agency in Red River County. Today, 18 of those 28 inmates have been released and none have returned. Three are full-time travel agents.
Addressing your claim to be a Christian “but don’t wear your Christianity on your sleeve”, I would call your attention to 2Corinthians 5:17 that says you are “a new creation, the old man has passed away and all things are becoming new”. If you were arrested for being a Christian, Would there be enough evidence to convict you? You say you don’t need to quote scripture to “get my point across” but for all practicing Christians, the Bible is our Operating Manual. Do you share your faith or claim that one’s faith is a private matter? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul said, “ I will never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”.
You asked me “Why you and CCI been unsuccessful in the past decade or two of establishing the actual facility?” Because the DOC must enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement, (IGA) with Wakita to participate in Habilitation House to trigger the non-government financing creates the dilemma. The criminal justice industry is the only industry whose very success depends upon its failure. Baseball and corrections are the only industries that are paid billions of dollars for a 70% failure rate, (according the USDOJ, the recidivism rate is 67%). Asking the DOC to endorse, embrace, and participate in Habilitation House is like asking Burger King to endorse a fast. Although there is no statutory, regulatory, budgetary, or constitutional reason that would preclude them signing an IGA, the DOC will provide any number of red herrings and undocumented claims to avoid participation. The only answer is for the holders of the purse strings, (legislators) to order them to participate. That is not happening yet but the pressure is mounting to do something different. The status quo is on its last legs. This is God’s enterprise and God will deliver it in His time. Please see Observations attachment.
Your claim to have a rapport with the FDOC and the InDOC, I am sure is valid. They do not see you as a threat to their sovereignty, their job security, their control, or their empire. They welcome almost any program that keeps them in absolute charge. They don’t want men to stay out. It’s big business and too much money is involved.
I, too am an ex offender. I did seven and one half calendars in Angola, Louisiana and the feds. I did my fed time at Terra Haute where federal death row is now. I was paroled in 1971. I was saved, delivered from alcohol and drugs in 1980 and made Jesus Christ the Lord of my life surrendering to prison ministry in 1984. Because my bio is in the web site, you would have known this if you bothered to go there.
Please don’t keep spewing your venom about PIE operations elsewhere to me. None of that affects CCI. We are committed to meeting or exceeding all PIE Guidelines. We will pay the prevailing wage for all local job descriptions, we will not displace local workers, we will distribute the resident’s earnings in the prescribed manner, and we will give our best effort to place the resident in that job skill upon their release. The inmates who would file complaints about PIE are the ones who aren’t going to work anyway, are receiving money from home, and/or have no desire to go straight. From my experience as a convict and prison minister, most would welcome the opportunity to earn money, learn a skill, and have a savings account on release. At any rate, they must sign an agreement to be transferred and know what kind of facility they will be going to.
All of this you would have known if you navigated out web site but you don’t want to hear anything that would dispute your diatribe or take you off your obsessed message.
Since you claim to be a Christian, I will again remind you that “ On that day, all believers will stand in front of Jesus to give an accounting of their deeds and misdeeds, their actions and inactions. As to the unbelievers, they would have already been judged.”
From that great, conservative theologian, Anonymous:
Youthfulness can be matured,
Ignorance can be educated,
Drunkenness can be sobered,
But stupidity is forever.
In the Service of Him Who loved me first,
Bill Robinson, www.correctionsconcepts.org
Voice 972-437-4188 fax 972-437-4195
Mr. Sloan, I forgot to include this attachment. I am still seething over your false accusations and the demeaning and denagrating of our friends and endorsers such as Dr. Draper,Gov. Bush, Dan Quayle, etal. I am forwarding your accusations to them for their disposition. As for me personally, I am like the Apostle Paul, when I became a disciple of Christ, I determinely made myself "of no reputation". Augustine said,"Humility is the willingness to be humiliated."
Seethe away there Mr. Robinson. You and CCI are merely the latest in 42 participating prison industries to attempt to jump on the PIECP bandwagon! I'm surprised you have not succeeded in getting a prison industry up and running - even without a prison.
You made no response to my observation that you could forego PIECP altogether and still manufacture products with inmate labor for sale and distribution within Ok. and thereby accomplish training, providing skills and still let the workers save funds for release. There just would not be a profit made by some private sector "PIECP partner", and you couldn't sell to the public or upon open markets. If your real motive is to train inmates and provide them the means to succeed upon release, why do you find it necessary to participate in PIE when there is another means available absent controversy?
Your latest tirade does not respond to the fact that PIECP is being overseen by state prison industry administrators who are operating industries under supervision of themselves through the NCIA. Do you approve of this kind of "Oversight"? Apparently you do because you know the amount of money involved in prison industry operations under PIECP - and want a piece of the action, I guess.
As to my motives...if you visited my site...or checked out the petition I have up at change.org you would know my purpose is to bring the prison industries into full compliance with PIECP Guidelines and mandatory requirements. I believe PIECP is a great program that is being mismanaged and has been dutifully corrupted by the likes of UST, OnShore Resources, Inc., etc. If the program is run according to the law and program parameters, I would add my full support. However too many people and organizations such as yours promotes avoiding the prevailing wage issue. You keep saying you'll pay prisoners prevailing "or at least the minimum wages" for their work. In your '95 presentation you stated prevailing wage or "minimum wage as entry level". Did you get that from PRIDE of Florida's business plan? The BJA insists inmate workers in the PIE program must be paid prevailing wages - yet many of the prison industries ignore this requirement. They believe they are allowed to pay them a lesser wage as "trainees" while they learn. The BJA emphatically disagrees, saying they must pay prevailing wages to every inmate whose labor produces or manufactures any product or provides any service under PIECP authority. This has been going on for two decades now. The NCIA do reviews of the wages paid by each industry, sees what they're doing and approves the procedure. They turn around and certify to the BJA that the industry reviewed is in compliance...and that's as far as it goes.
You should know all of this full well, Bill, having started your CCI campaign in Texas where PIECP manipulations were born. But maybe you do and continue to want to join the profit at all costs bunch. Heard about the loss of private sector jobs at Lufkin Industries? The losses of hundreds of other jobs in Austin when Lockhart Technologies closed their private sector operation and re-opened behind prison fences in Lockhart. How about the loss of Linen Service worker jobs lost to prison industry operations or recycling jobs lost when state prisoners were brought in to do the work? All of this in Texas over the past decade...taking place while you were applauding PIE programs and wanting in the door. Your attitude demonstrates you have no concern for the private sector workers who are losing their jobs, income, homes and vehicles to prison industry and labor. Aren't they considered "Christians" by you and your like, and thus "fair game"? Have you only purported "Christian" feelings for inmates who volunteer for your program and to work in your prison industry? How can anyone believe you when the plight of workers everywhere are being lost to prison labor and you want to open another prison industry and probably cost more private sector workers their employment and income? How many good men and women do you want on the state welfare rolls before you realize what you propose is contributing to the swelling of those rolls?
You're sensitive about the Lockhart fiasco and defensive as heck as being linked or labeled with those folks who have already been determined to have been crooks who openly abused PIECP. Texas is full of prison industry...privatized prisons cover the state map like a blanket. You should be sensitive since you helped create this mess with your presentations to George Bush and the whispers in his ear about Christian prisons and using Christian inmate labor to make your proposed products. As I said before, Bush was more than receptive to requests for more access to government agencies and funds, issuing Senate Resolutions like #44 in 1997, addressing faith based initiatives and facilitating faith-based correctional facilities for willing prisoners. Yeah, your ideas helped fuel his and I guess you're both proud as heck of that. From the news articles I've read, it seems that it's not working out for either of you.
I guess you find it merely coincidental that at the same time George Bush was being receptive to you and your ideas, he passed along those same ideas to his brother in Florida who was then the sitting Governor? His brother duplicated everything George was doing in Texas...including opening prison industry operations up for CCA and Wackenhut...diverting a couple of state prisons to faith based prisons...appointing cronies to his cabinet, state posts and staff. Under his tutelage the prison industry and the Department of Corrections itself fell into corruption by those he appointed. Men went to prison over that corruption in the prison and prison industry. By the time Jeb Bush left office, Florida politics involving prison and prison labor mirrored the philosophy and system in operation in Texas.
GWB managed to create ICE before he left office and made hundreds of millions of federal money available for the likes of his campaign contributors Wackenhut (Geo Group), Cornell Industries and CCA to build "immigration" prisons to house all the illegals ICE could round up. Texas has many of these "immigration camps" scattered all over. Some of them provide inmate labor for industry...what a wonderful concept, huh? As I said if the laws are followed and the inmates paid what they are entitled to I have no objections and fully support the program. However you and I both know that big corporations use inmate labor because it's cheaper. They can get away with paying minimum wages instead of $18.00 to $22.00 for private sector workers, have to pay no benefits, no 401(K) matches, paid vacations, workers comp, etc. To bring PIECP into compliance would mean a loss of profits to the private sector partners and they can't allow that to happen. Anytime a proposal is made to correct the program, they trot out the lobbyists and funnel money to legislators through them to keep the status quo and thereby their money rolling in.
Visit your web site? You know as well as I that when reading up on information on a web site...you only see what the webmaster or the organization wants you to see. Check out any prison industry web site and you'll read that if they participate in PIECP they "pay inmates the prevailing wage"...but that's not factual. That's what they're supposed to do but don't. Instead they pay them the minimum wage for their efforts and get away with it (an option you openly propose in each of your emails and your '95 presentation). So information obtained from those "sites" are sources that can't be trusted. Unlike my site. At my site the reader is able to go to the files section and download or read any one or more of several hundred articles and documents that corroborate what I've posted or statements I've made.
I have documented evidence of prison industries paying only minimum wages while saying they pay prevailing wages. I have documented evidence of money laundering, theft of private sector partner's equipment and complete businesses. misuse of inmate labor, undocumented lobbying by 501(C)(3) exempt corporations for state laws on PIECP that favor their operation - without IRS approval, fees or knowledge. So, many prison PIECP industry operations are in violation and non-compliance. It's happening from Florida to North Carolina, to Texas and California and along comes someone wanting to open and operate a Christian prison facity where prison industry will be manned by inmates in PIECP. Any new player is suspect when the rest of the field has demonstrated a willingness for corruption. Unless and until CCI can demonstrate they're different - not just a new concept - and willing to abide by the statutes governing the use of inmate labor, I and others will remain suspicious.
As to Mr. Quayle, Dick Armey and the others...their names with quoted statements were taken directly from your presentation information given in '95. Obviously you state that they gave their support for your proposed operation and that's what I've reported. If that angers them, it's because of some reason other than I made their support public. If they didn't want the general population to know about their support, they should not have allowed you to name and quote them.
I wish this discussion were being had through my blog. If it were it would be there for all to follow and understand. In that way they could realize the face of at least one of those men or women who are dedicated to taking their jobs and giving it to underpaid prisoners. You would obviously like a work force without a voice, with no legislative contact or sympathy. Simply because you purport to run your facility in His name...doesn't mean it will be done right.
Because I am not a psychiatrist, I can’t diagnose your illness, but bless your heart, you are one sick puppy.
You cannot afford to listen or hear another voice because if you ever admitted finding an organization that had pure, non-profit motives, uncompromising integrity, adhered to all rules and guidelines, and did the right thing for the right reason, you would be devastated and your rabid rampage would be derailed. Even though you have ignored and/or disregarded everything I have said before, please try to listen one more time: CCI’s PIE industry will pay the inmate worker the prevailing wage for every job description in Wakita, Grant County, Oklahoma and we will not displace local workers. That is the PIE Guideline. Our industry partners will not and are not required to pay the prevailing wage for that same job description in New York City. You know very well that the PIE Guideline says “ the prevailing local wage”. If the industry were required to pay the prevailing wage for that job description no matter from where determined, the last incentive for industry to participate in PIE would be erased. Remember, in Habilitation House the resident will receive free housing, free food, free medical, dental, and mental health care, free drug treatment, free education, and an atmosphere of positive-choice making. Subtract the value of those perks from the New York wage and the resident will be earning even more than that prevailing wage. Granted, these factors are not applicable to calculating the prevailing wage, nevertheless it is a basis for the PIE reasoning which is rational, fair and productive for the inmate worker and industry. Since the CCI’s Habilitation House PIE program will be “run according to the law and program parameters”, we look forward to the promise of your “full support”.
The DOC would like to destroy PIE and any other program that promises to reform, redeem, and restore the offender. Then, they could do like the TDCJ and pay them nothing. TDCJ demands that the inmate work and then pays him in ‘good time’ then takes the ‘ good time’ for the slightest rule infraction. It is big business. Maybe your are the DOC hatchet man. Who is funding your rantings and ravings? I don’t observe you taking to task the DOC that sponsor PIE programs. Could the DOC be your patron?
You are deluded and deceived and I would strongly encourage you to seek professional help for your apparent OCD symptoms. But, because you are a dedicated muckraker, you will continue to tilt at windmills, turn over rocks, and swing open closet doors desperately looking for any aspect of cronyism, collusion, and conspiracy, which by the way have absolutely no application to who CCI is or what we are about. We are not PRIDE (or anything similar), which seems to be your favorite target and we no way condone nor have had or will ever have any connections to any of those corrupted entities and practices you like to boast of having uncovered. Please be advised that should you continue with unfounded accusations and/or undocumented demeaning declarations, you can expect a response from our General Counsel and Wakita’s Special Counsel.
As to our friends that you have falsely accused of investing in US Technologies, seeking profit under the cloak of Christianity, and having various ulterior motives, (based solely on their embracing of the Habilitation House concept), can pursue any fitting action.
Since you decline to answer any of my questions about your relationship with Christ and because I see no fruit that would evidence you having any walk with our Lord. I will pray for your soul. We will turn you and your regurgitations over to the Lord. Further allotment of our time and attention would be a useless expenditure of energy. I suggest you reread “The Bellamy Stare” for possible application.
Thank you again for your tirade. At least if nothing else, you're consistent in your rhetoric. I believe if you would look past your anger and sensitivity to constructive criticism, you'd find our purposes and goals are basically the same: we both want a reformation of the country's prison system - state and federal. We both recognize and want to stop the abuses that are being conducted upon prisoners by both state and private sector "employers". However, our thoughts on how to accomplish this are worlds apart.
Our discussions over the past couple of days make me realize that this is why I find it difficult to have a rational discourse with anyone who professes to be an Evangelical, Conservative, or both. You have a concept and believe it is the proper and only course of action to reach a stated goal - in this case reducing recidivism through Christian ministering and hard work in a prison industry. Any objection or opposition to your concept has to be wrong. Anyone who opposes your view is un-God-like and must be totally wrong...as you know your way is the way. No amount of reasonable discussion will prevail - you are dedicated to your beliefs and everyone else can receive the Bellamy Stare as your "Christian" way of telling them to go to hell.
Your use of the phrase "pure, non-profit motives, uncompromising integrity" should not be combined with prison industry and the PIE Certification Program when reviewed historically. You and CCI may have the best motives in mind, but once you join a program that has been corrupted those motives can become lost in the pursuit of profits by PIE private sector corporate partners. It has happened numerous times previous to now and will probably continue into the future. Your belief that you can be the lone prison industry to do it right is misplaced and naieve.
Your interpretation of my writings about those who support you, such as Dr. Drapper, Mr. Quayle, Former President Bush and the others is similarly incorrect. I have not accused those individuals of participating in anything illegal or wayward. What I did write and state is that your documents state they supported CCI and your Christian Prison concepts. My opinion differs from theirs, obviously. Since your proposed project has never gotten off the ground in two decades, the argument is quite moot. You and they have your opinion and beliefs and I have mine. Your arguments reflect your belief that any other concept or opinion but yours is wrong. Anyone who opposes or argues against your personal convictions or beliefs is to be attacked vigorously.
In support of that statement, read your own words: "Please be advised that should you continue with unfounded accusations and/or undocumented and demeaning declarations, you can expect a response from our General Counsel and Wakita's Special Counsel." If I had not provided you with documentation on all of my statements and in support of my arguments, it would be a different story, but Bill I've given you the website information where all of it can be found. In addition, I used your own words describing your proposal and about the prison industry you propose - including your choice of paying inmate workers "prevailing wages or minimum wages as entry level" (note that in your last email you have dropped the minimum wage and entry level language. Apparently even as hard headed as you appear to be you realize that is what is causing some of your problems). Why threaten me for using your own words in my arguments opposing your proposal to Wakita? In case you've forgotten what you said in 1995 (that I quoted from) I've again attached your own documents hereto. They include statements from Quayle, Drapper, Armey and a letter from George Bush. Nothing was taken out of context or reported that you did not provide. Apparently when religious scripture does not accomplish sealing your arguments, you resort to legal threats against anyone with an opinion different from yours.
Again I am guilty of opposing your concept and desire to found and operate a Christian Prison and combine it with a prison industry under PIECP. I published my opinion and statements in a public forum - just as you have on every occasion available to you - and in return drew your wrath and statements doubting my religious beliefs and false accusations that I have misquoted, made disparaging and demeaning statements against you and CCI as well as your purported supporters. If you can't argue your views without making such accusations or threatening legal action, why bother to argue at all? Until you Evangelical conservatives manage to take over the rest of our government and change our constitution, we all still have freedom of speech. I know that pains you and you'd like to change that aspect of our rights, but until another George Bush or his like manage to become President, our Constitution and Civil Rights remain and you'll just have to put up with the voices raised against your beliefs - be they religious or about prison industry and prisoner reformation.
As for my being a "sick puppy" because I disagree with you...when did you receive your last rabies and distemper boosters?