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After reviewing the Bureau of State Audit’s (BSA) second audit of the Prison Industry Authority (PIA) in as many years, Corrections Interim Director Tom Maddock said he was encouraged.

“PIA has made significant progress,” said Maddock, who also chairs the Prison Industry Board, the eleven-member advisory body that oversees PIA operations. “It is gratifying that BSA acknowledged the many improvements PIA has made.”

Maddock specifically noted PIA’s Prompt Delivery Program and surveys that showed customer satisfaction has increased by 50 percent. PIA also has closed or consolidated five industries to streamline operations and reduce costs. “They’ve done all this while keeping a lid on prices for the fourth straight year,” said Maddock.

Inmate jobs with PIA are some of the most highly skilled and highly paid in the prison system. The roughly 6,600 inmates currently employed produce goods and services used by the state’s 33 prisons. PIA also sells inmate-manufactured goods to other state and local governments.

While PIA has not fully implemented all BSA’s recommendations, Maddock indicated he was satisfied with their progress to date. “Many BSA recommendations address complex areas which require long-term efforts,” he said.

To date, PIA has completed the planning phase of a major cost accounting system. They have added more tracking capabilities to their information systems and initiated a centralized procurement project for inmate clothing. When 1996-97 figures are finalized, PIA also expects to show a reduction in their physical inventory–a longtime goal for PIA and an issue raised by BSA.

“BSA continues to compare PIA with private industry,” said Maddock. “While such comparisons are useful in trying to achieve greater governmental efficiencies, they also must factor in the unskilled, uneducated and undisciplined labor force available to PIA.

“I am confident that PIA is moving in the right direction to be able to meet the challenges of the future,” said Maddock.