First off, let me tell you about the Keefe Group of companies. The Keefe Group, and their affiliates, are the leading provider of canteen vendors services to city, county and state correctional facilities in the nation. In addition to providing food products through automated vending services they also provide personal care products, electronics, clothing and telecommunications and software solutions to correctional care facilities nationwide.
Now If I’m to believe in what I read on stltoday.com of the rehabilitative process of our correctional facilities, than much, if not most of that responsibility falls on those in charge being held accountable for their actions and those they hire from outside to provide for them.
If that responsibility involves giving contracts to private companies (such as the Keefe Group) then it is their duty to see that those contracts are awarded through a proper bidding and screening process – not simply to those embed themselves within the system.
So when I also see articles that clearly shine the light on corruption between prison officials and an outside private entity, with the intention of purposefully overcharging inmates to pocket the surplus for themselves later…I’m definitely thinking there needs to be something done to bring the hammer down . Not just on those within the system exploiting inmates for personal gain, but also those private companies colluding with them.
So why exactly is it, I wonder, that a petition addressed to Governor Scott in 2013, stated that the FDOC contract was automatically awarded to the Keefe Commissary Network, despite there being several other vendors who bid that would be able to offer a wider variety of items at almost 60% less than the Keefe Group.
One has to wonder…
Even as far back as 2009, a Pennsylvania inmate can be found writing in Under Lock And Key as to the need for the termination of the Keefe Group monopoly. Read full article on prisoncensorship.info.
Keefe group and its subsidiaries the Keefe Supplies, Keefe Commissary Network, Access Corrections, Access Securepak, Advanced Technologies Group, and IC Solutions has been offering communication services and high-quality goods to correction facilities since 1975. Keefe Group ranks as the nation’s top service provider for food supplies, personal care items, clothes and sanitation, technology, and telecommunication services for prisoners.
According to stltoday.com, Keefe Group developed the industry through tailoring its products, technology, and packaging to suit the demands of detainees. Every department at Keefe Group commits to the corporate objective of delivering high-quality solutions tailored to suit the unique needs of clients. Keefe Group commits to exceeding customer expectation. Through Keefe Group, inmates enjoy the following services;
Prison Management System
Money sending to recipients
Video visitation services
Inmate Management Systems
According to prisoncensorship.info – a news commentary in the Mississippi area, the Keefe Group signed a contract with the MDOC through the Keefe Commissary Network. The contract commenced on November 5, 2008, with several renewals over the years. In 2011, the contract was renewed and will expire on 31 August 2015. Keefe Group paid a commission of 29.4 % to the state-operated sales authorities within correctional facilities to seal the deal. Keefe Group subtracted 10% of all the sales made through visitation bags. The contracts were signed and sealed by Chris Epps, the then Prison Commissioner. According to the contract, Keefe Group was responsible for;
Inmate’s deposits processing
Prepaid debit cards trade and prisoners trust funds processing
Total rights to market MP3 players to prisoners
Full rights to market music download at lower prices to prisoners
Exclusive rights to sell commissary items like food, personal sanitary products, and tobacco.
Cecil McCrory was the owner of G.T Enterprises before it was sold to Keefe Group in 2008. The MDOC Deal commenced on June 1st, 2006 after its amendment in 2007 to allow GT Enterprise to trade commissary items at the Walnut Grove Youth Prison.