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FEDERAL Prison Workers NO Pay but federal inmates still getting paid during government shutdown (HUH) WHAT

About 100 prison workers at South Dakota’s federal prison camp in Yankton are still showing up to work during the government shutdown, even though their pay is being denied. But in a "Say, what?!" outrage, the inmates they are supervising are still being compensated for the jobs they do onsite.

"There's a different funding for them," American Federation of Government Employees Local 4040 Union President Michele Kunkel told a local CBS affiliate.

Kunkel says the 36,000 prison workers employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons are operating on an IOU system and will most likely get paid whenever the federal government shutdown ends. But the longer the shutdown carries on, the harder it becomes for prison employees to make ends meet.

Kunkel herself knows the sting particularly well, as both she and her husband are employed at the Yankton prison camp.

“We can't go to the grocery store and buy groceries and give them, 'Oh, here's our government IOU,'" Kunkel said.

The prisoners are paid for their work from a separate fund. And since they make considerably smaller wages than a worker outside the prison walls, the Department of Justice says they have enough cash to cover the lapse of funding while parts of the federal government remain closed. The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) program receives about $2.7 million in government funding each year .

FPI employees are paid a minimum of 23 cents per hour and can legally be paid up to $1.15 an hour for their work. All able-bodied federal prisoners are required by law to work for FPI or in some other prison labor capacity.

Along with working in the prison commissary, prisoners employed by FPI, aka, UNICOR, produce a wide assortment of goods, including office furniture, license plates and even eyewear.

UNICOR/FPI was founded in 1934 and is controlled by the federal government. Products produced by the prison population are only allowed to be sold at cost to other federal agencies and cannot be placed on the commercial market.

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Comment by Mervin E Yearwood on October 14, 2013 at 7:04pm

Well Stated SUN STAR !

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Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR)

Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI) is a wholly-owned government corporation established in 1934, under an Act of Congress and an Executive Order which is now incorporated in Chapter 307, Section 4121-4128, Title 18, United States Code. FPI was set up to provide paid employment to inmates, primarily in the manufacture of products for use by the federal government. In 1978, FPI adopted the trade name UNICOR, under which it does most of its business. The products made at these institutions are produced in strict conformance with Federal or other applicable specifications.

UNICOR is an indispensable component of the Federal Prison System and maintains first priority for production of supplies to the federal government. Products manufactured by UNICOR for DLA Troop Support are listed in their "Schedule of Products". Any new product line to be manufactured by UNICOR is listed in the Commerce Business Daily prior to production. For a copy of their catalog call 800-827-3168. When UNICOR lacks production capacity authorization is granted for DLA Troop Support to acquire products from the commercial sector.

For additional information, call 215-737-5821 or 800-831-1110 (Outside of Pennsylvania).

Comment by bajanguy on October 12, 2013 at 12:31pm

the prisoners make a return so they get paid makes sense

Comment by rashid rourk on October 12, 2013 at 12:27am

Companies use prisoners to make their products, no ? I  think I  heard or read some companies use them for customer service. 

Comment by Mervin E Yearwood on October 11, 2013 at 7:19pm

Yo CO you want some of my commissary?

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