Have Prisoners Now Become Money?

It’s evident in the recent past that private agencies are soliciting funds from inmates. I suggest this should be stopped with immediate effect. The inmates’ relatives and guardians are crying foul of the high financial burden. I strongly recommend the state to take over control of the correctional facilities instead of private agencies.

 

High rates of corruption and bribery have been witnessed in the correctional facilities. For instance, Keefe Food Group, a subsidiary of the Centric Group LLC, has been found to have obtained several no-bid contracts in the county, state, and even the federal systems. I encourage a just fight against Keefe Food Group, and its parent company, Centric Group LLC. As it can be seen, from the services that it offers the inmates in Mississippi Department Of Corrections (MDOC), Keefe has earned over $40 million, and G.T. Enterprises earned over $3 million gross revenue. Keefe Group was bought from G.T. Enterprises in 2008 and began the contracts. Although the contracts have been renewed several times, Keefe continues to service the inmates. The company even increased inmate taxes from 24% to 28%. I think this is too high given that the inmates do not have any source of income since they rely on their relatives and guardians for financial support.

 

Keefe alone owns the rights to offer the inmates are as follows:

 

  • Selling commissary items such as food, personal hygiene items, and tobacco.
  • Processing inmates financial deposits.
  • Selling music players (MP3), ad song downloads

 

Additionally, Keefe obtained 10% monthly revenue from all the money raised by selling “visitation bags.” But why allow only one company have more exclusive rights to offer inmates services than other companies? I think the opportunities should be distributed equally to several qualified bidders.

 

No-bid contracts should also be made away with because they have contributed to private agencies monopolizing the prisons. I recommend that several companies, regardless of their dollar amount, should be allowed to participate in the competitive bid process, and the contracts awarded to only qualified bidders. That will be an effective strategy to promote transparency in the government.

 

Also for transparency purposes, it’s also recommendable that we have all vendors that are contracting with the state agency file a disclosure agreement showing the amount of fees paid for their bid, and also disclose the name of the agent who helped them secure the contract. The state agents would then have to post in the public domain reasons indicating why they awarded the contracts to specific companies.

 

The above strategies to obtain state transparency are an effective measure to prevent corruption and other acts of bribery.