Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding a need to heighten awareness of and compliance with the laws and regulations relating to procurements from foreign countries.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified the concerns described in the memorandum during an investigation of a procurement by the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR). We found that certain UNICOR staff were aware that a contractor manufactured its products in China but believed and advised the contractor that UNICOR could procure the products in compliance with laws and regulations concerning procurements from foreign countries. We did not find that the UNICOR staff or the contractor engaged in misconduct. However, we found that certain UNICOR staff did not adequately understand the relevant laws and regulations that governed UNICOR’s contracts and did not seek guidance from UNICOR’s Office of General Counsel before entering into the contracts or providing compliance guidance to the contractor.
The DOJ OIG made three recommendations to the BOP to address the concerns we identified. The BOP agreed with the recommendations and stated that it has already begun taking actions to address the concerns identified in the memorandum.