What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : People in Jails and Prisons : H R 1829. Federal Prison Industry/Vote to Make Temporary the Preferential Treatment To Prison-Produced Goods.
 Who: All Members
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H R 1829. Federal Prison Industry/Vote to Make Temporary the Preferential Treatment To Prison-Produced Goods.
house Roll Call 611     Nov 06, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Many federal inmates have the option of earning $1.50 an hour for their work in producing goods in prison factories which range from office furniture to military equipment. To maintain the demand for goods produced by federal inmates, government agencies are required by law to make concerted attempts to purchase prison-produced goods before shopping elsewhere. With the economic downturn, however, lawmakers have re-examined the so-called mandatory source requirement-a sixty-nine year old requirement which states that preference be given to prison-produced goods-in order to provide a greater share of government contracts to local merchants. During debate on a bill to eliminate the mandatory source requirement, Congresswoman Jackson-Lee (D-TX) proposed an amendment which would have added a sunset provision to the underlying legislation in order to make the bill expire after three years. Progressives supported Jackson-Lee's amendment because, in their view, the mandatory source requirement should not be permanently changed. Progressives contended that the production of goods by inmates in prison provides those individuals with valuable job skills that can be used to find employment once they are released. Conservatives opposed the amendment and argued that the government should purchase the goods it needs from law-abiding local merchants rather than from federal inmates. On a vote of 100-313, Jackson-Lee's amendment was struck down and a three-year sunset provision was not included in the underlying legislation.

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