Taking on Keefe Group Exploitation of Inmates

The Keefe Group is the largest provider of a wide array of different types of products and services in correctional industry. The Keefe Group is the leading provider of correctional institution inmate commissary solutions.

The Keefe Group enters into exclusive contracts (http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=39055) with correctional agencies across the United States. In fact, 12 of every 14 state correctional agencies that outsource commissary services have contracts with the Keefe Group. The number is increasing every year.

Because of the exclusive agreement between the Keefe Group and a correctional agency, there is no competition when it comes to commissary services. This becomes particularly evident when it comes to the pricing of products sold through an institutional commissary.

Time and again, the price tag of products sold via an institutional inmate commissary is significantly higher than what comparable products sell for in the outside world. The situation is aggravated by the reality that institutions obtain kickbacks for any items sold via a Keefe Group commissary operation.

The typical institutional commissary system permits inmates the ability to make purchases once a week. Inmates pay for merchandise purchased through a Keefe Group commissary using money in trust accounts. More often than not, the funds in an inmate’s account are deposited by family members and friends.

In addition to these Keefe Group contracts being monopolistic, and lucrative, they oftentimes are no-bid agreements. Mississippi has a task force in place that examined the propriety of these types of contracts with the Keefe Group.

The Mississippi task force arose out of the federal indictment of the Mississippi Corrections Commissioner for corruption. The charges stemmed, in part, from the commissary agreement between the correctional agency and a subsidiary of the Keefe Group.

The task force has made a number of important recommendations. According to prisoncensorship.info, these include doing away with no-bid contracts and injecting competition into the inmate commissary system.