the problem:
unfair competition against american manufacturers of military clothing and textiles
Under a federal law known as the Berry Amendment, the Department of Defense (DOD)  is required to purchase all textile-based military equipment from 100 percent domestic sources.

While these domestic manufacturers do not compete against foreign sources, they do compete against a government-owned corporation known as Federal Prison Industries (FPI) operating under the trade name UNICOR.

Federal law gives FPI a mandatory source preference on DOD contracts which requires the department to first purchase from FPI any product before the private sector.

FPI is even given a preference over other mandatory sources such as the National Institute for the Blind (NIB) and National Institute for the Severely Handicapped (NISH) and all small businesses, including women and minority-owned businesses and any company operating under the HUBZone and 8a programs who also supply the military.

The Facts: FPI in the DOD Clothing and Textiles (C&T) Market*

In 2010, FPI’s seven business segments combined earned a profit of $5.6  million dollars.

At the same time, FPI’s Clothing and Textiles (C&T) division alone earned $35.8 million, covering losses in the other six business segments, while taking work away from American businesses and putting their workers out on the streets.

Of the 15,907 total inmates employed in the seven business segments in 2010, 5,800 (37 percent) work in C&T.

FPI’s C&T business segment reported $246.4 million in sales in 2010, of which $139 million dollars came from DOD (56 percent).  This number would have been higher in 2010 if FPI had not lost a $70 million helmet contract due to defects in the product that triggered a massive recall.

Growth of FPI’s DOD sales in C&T has grown from $88 million in 2004 to $204 million in 2009 and $139 million in 2010.