Congressman investigates federal prison industries
Jon Brandt, press secretary for Congressman
Pete Hoekstra, released a Media Advisory on September 22, 2000
informing of a Hearing to be held on September 26th to investigate
Federal Prison Industries' commercial sales. Claims that the
Federal Prison Industries program is diverting used computers
and other materials from inner city and rural schools to be sold
commercially were the subjects of this hearing
Clinton Administration policy gives priority for decommissioned government computers to be donated to inner city and rural schools to help bridge the so-called "Digital Divide." FPI is a government-sponsored corporation that uses federal prisoners to produce goods that may only be sold to federal agencies.
Federal law prohibits the products of inmate labor from being sold on the open market. However, FPI spokesmen claim that a 1992 finding allows it to sell commercial services and has begun to aggressively expand its business as a federal subcontractor.
"Whether reconditioning computers and selling them is a service or a product seems to be a matter of contention," said Hoekstra, who is the primary sponsor of a bill (H.R. 2551) that would reform the FPI program. The bill currently has the bipartisan support of 127 House members.
Among the scheduled hearing witnesses were: Victor Arnold-Vic - Property Management Division - Federal Supply Service, Jasper Jones - Computers for Youth and Families - Philadelphia, Pa., Bill Wilson - Nat'l Assn. of State Agencies for Surplus Property, Randall K. Smith - Alpha Omega Computer Solutions - Cottondale, Fla., Andrew J. Corbin - Technical Services Laboratory, Inc. - Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Sherry Low - Defense Reutilization & Marketing - Defense Logistics Agency
FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact: Jon Brandt, press secretary (202) 225-4928 or (202) 225-4401 work (703) 998-0846 home E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the congressman's website at www.house.gov/hoekstra
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