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The House Commerce Justice State (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee Evaluates the FPI’s COVID-19 Response

Last Thursday, March 18th, the House Commerce Justice State (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on “the COVID Outbreaks and Management Challenges: Evaluating the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Pandemic Response and the Way Forward.”   On August 20, 2020, Rep. Brooks (R-AL) and staff from Rep. Aderholt (R-AL) attended a briefing and tour at Claborn Manufacturing (ASA member) in Alabama addressing how FPI directly competes with our subcontractor membership and to that end, I respectfully offered Rep. Aderholt, the Ranking Chair of this Subcommittee, the following drafted questions to be included in the hearing’s record.  They were:

  • Q1 for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) witness:

Last April, a coalition of organizations representing the business community wrote the Attorney General requesting a temporary suspension to Federal Prison Industries (FPI) based on two issues. First, the business community has long suffered from unfair competition by FPI for the provision of commercially available goods and services. Second, there were substantial news reports and studies noting the spread of Covid in the prison population. Can you let me know how the spread of Covid in prisons has gone since last April?

  • Q2 for BOP witness:

Given that FPI competes unfairly with the private sector, and small business, via its mandatory source status in federal procurement, and given the private sector economy is still trying to recover from Covid, do you think that the best market for FPI to transition would be international markets, thereby removing itself from competing unfairly with the domestic markets and jobs here at home in the private sector?