Summary: H.R.2558 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2558. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (07/20/1999)

Prison Industries Reform Act of 1999 - Rewrites general provisions under the Federal criminal code relating to the structure and mission of Federal Prison Industries (FPI).

Directs the Attorney General (currently, FPI) to determine in what manner and to what extent industrial operations shall be carried on in Federal correctional institutions. Requires that such operations be conducted so as to: (1) provide employment for the greatest number of those inmates in U.S. correctional institutions who are eligible to work as is reasonably possible; (2) generate sufficient revenues to fund industrial operations; (3) generate revenue, to be returned to the Treasury of the United States, to defray a portion of the cost of confining inmates in U.S. correctional institutions; and (4) minimize any adverse impact on domestic companies or workers to the greatest extent possible consistent with its mission.

Requires: (1) the FPI to be governed by a 12-member Board of Directors appointed by the Attorney General (currently, a six-member board appointed by the President); (2) the Attorney General, in making appointments to the Board, to appoint one person recommended by each of the Speaker of the House Of Representatives, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, majority leader of the Senate, and the minority leader of the Senate; (3) Board members to serve for four years (and allows them to be reappointed) and to serve without compensation; and (4) the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to serve as Chief Executive Officer.

Directs FPI to endeavor to: (1) produce products that otherwise would be produced by foreign workers outside the United States; and (2) enter into contracts with private companies for the purpose of inducing such companies to employ inmates in an FPI shop to produce products.

Directs the Attorney General to appoint an Independent Review Panel to advise the Board regarding the type and quantity of products to be produced by FPI for sale in interstate commerce.

(Sec. 3) Requires the Attorney General to endeavor to make available to inmates who have been committed to the custody of the Bureau opportunities to work in an FPI shop. Allows the Attorney General to set standards regarding education and conduct for those inmates who work in a FPI shop.

Authorizes FPI to sell its products generally on the open market to the public, to U.S. departments and agencies, to a State or municipality, and to foreign governments. Authorizes FPI, and directs that it make it a priority, to enter into contracts with one or more companies through which such private company may produce products at an FPI shop for sale. Requires that such contract provide: (1) for the amount to be paid to FPI by the private company; (2) that if the private company employs any non-inmate workers, on or after 60 days prior to the execution of the contract, who reside within the United States, that the private company agrees to continue to employ non-inmate workers who reside within the United States in at least the same number for a period of at least 18 months after the date of the contract or the date the private company begins to produce products at an FPI shop, whichever is later (non- inmate worker requirement); and (3) that the Attorney General make available to such private company such number of inmates who have been selected to work in a prison industry carried on by FPI as shall be specified in the contract.

Requires FPI to pay wages to all inmates who work in a prison industry carried on by FPI at a rate not less than the Federal minimum wage. Authorizes the Attorney General to deduct from inmate wages amounts, not exceeding 90 percent of such wages, for: (1) fines, special assessments, and restitution owed by the prisoner pursuant to court order; (2) allocations for support of the inmate's family pursuant to statute, court order, or agreement by the inmate; (3) reasonable charges for room and board, but not less than 50 percent of the total amounts deducted under this paragraph; (4) amounts to be held on account and paid to the inmate upon release; and (5) contributions to any fund established by law to compensate the victims of crime.

Relieves FPI from such payment if the Panel determines that the products are: (1) foreign-made products; or (2) certain agricultural commodities or parts for the repair of farm machinery, or commodities manufactured in a Federal, District of Columbia, or State institution for use by the Federal, District, or any State or local government or by not-for-profit organizations. Directs that inmates producing such products instead be paid wages not less than would be paid by FPI on the date of this Act's enactment. Authorizes the Attorney General to deduct from inmate wages amounts, not exceeding in their aggregate 50 percent of the amount paid to an inmate, for specified purposes.

Allows more than one FPI shop to be located at a Federal correctional facility, or outside a correctional facility if all of the inmates working at that shop are classified as minimum security inmates.

Authorizes the Attorney General to waive the non-inmate worker requirement if the Attorney General determines that exigent circumstances exist and the private company has taken all reasonable steps to continue to employ its non-inmate workers who reside within the United States.

Requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress a plan for the elimination of the use by FPI of the mandatory source preference requirement, subject to specified requirements. Prohibits FPI from undertaking the production of any new product or significantly expanding the production rate of a product for sale to any Federal entity unless the procurement requirement for that product has been eliminated in accordance with the plan.

Allows Federal agencies to purchase directly from FPI those products for which the procurement requirement has been eliminated in accordance with the plan in such quantities and by such method as they deem appropriate.

Exempts FPI, for purchases from the private sector in support of its operations, from the provisions of the Competition in Contracting Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Attorney General: (1) three years and five years after the date of this Act's enactment, to determine what percentage of the total eligible inmates are employed by FPI; and (2) upon determining that less than 25 percent of the total number of eligible inmates are employed by FPI, to notify Congress after which the amendments made by this Act shall cease to have any further effect. Defines "eligible inmate" as a person committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, who is designated to a low, medium, or high security facility operated by the Bureau, who is physically and mentally able to work.

(Sec. 5) Makes provisions regarding the transportation or importation of prison-made goods inapplicable to goods produced by prisoners if: (1) such prisoners receive wages at a rate equal to the Federal minimum wage or such goods would otherwise be produced by foreign workers outside the United States; and (2) on or before any such sales commence, the State adopts a plan to eliminate within seven years any requirement that departments or agencies of that State purchase the goods manufactured by convicts incarcerated in that State.