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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Textile plant closing at USP

  • A textile factory operated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will close later this year, prison officials said.
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  • A textile factory operated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth will close later this year, prison officials said.
    The plant is operated by Federal Prison Industries, or what also is known as UNICOR, according Thomas Sheldrake, public information officer for the USP.
    He said the factory, which currently has about 90 inmates working there, usually makes items for other government entities, producing things such as T-shirts for the military.
    Sheldrake said the factory is scheduled to close this summer.
    “They’re consolidating different plants,” he said.
    He said inmates are paid for their work in the factory, and they can use the money to for things such as making phone calls and using email.
    The closing of the plant will impact six employees at the USP. He said the prison usually can absorb these employees into other positions.
    Warden Claude Maye discussed the closing of the factory during a recent Community Relations Board meeting at the USP.
    He said the program provides inmates with a skill.
    “It keeps them out of trouble,” he said.
    Sheldrake said the prison is putting together a committee to find a way to deal with inmate idleness. He said the goal is for every inmate to have a job, but he admitted there’s only so much for them to do inside the institution.
    He said Federal Prison Industries also operates a print program inside the main prison as well as program that recycles computers at the camp that’s on the USP grounds.
    Sheldrake said between 25 and 30 inmates work in the print operation. About 125 inmates from the camp work for the recycling program.
    Sheldrake said USP officials feel confident the recycling program will remain at the camp.
    “We think that one’s safe,” he said.
    He said there’s no word about whether the print program will remain at the USP.
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