By Christopher Zoukis
For the past several years I have been seeking information on the UNICOR Scholarship Program offered at FCI Petersburg. And for years I, and other UNICOR workers, have received a cold shoulder from FCI Petersburg UNICOR staff. They have refused to provide information concerning how to apply for the scholarship program, what the program consists of, the requirements thereof, and where to find additional information concerning it.
Up until today, I’ve only been able to locate two sources of limited information concerning the program: 1) an inmate who is in the program, but was unwilling to supply myself with any sort of documentation concerning it and 2) referrals to it — and program directions — which can be located in Federal Bureau of Prisons’ national policy. Essentially I, and the vast majority of other inmates at FCI Petersburg, have been stonewalled by UNICOR staff which resulted in the vast majority of UNICOR inmates not being able to apply for this scholarship program. Today that changed.
Today I was able to procure a copy of a memorandum which was distributed to UNICOR inmates at FCI Petersburg. This UNICOR memorandum, entitled “UNICOR Scholarship Program,” explains what the scholarship program consists of, the requirements thereof, and how to apply for it. Since the UNICOR Scholarship Program memorandum which I was able to obtain is a poor copy, and probably won’t scan well, I will type the exact memorandum here. The memorandum reads as follows (I’ll be typing it as is, not making any grammatical or punctuation corrections):
TO: All FCC Petersburg UNICOR Employees
THRU: Mr. M. Danzey, Associate Warden (I&E) [signed]
FROM: Ms. A. Vaughan, Remote Operational Accountant
RE: Application Deadline: March 31, 2013
FPI [Federal Prison Industries, Inc.] awards post-secondary scholarships to selected, qualified inmate workers employed by UNICOR. These scholarships provide an inmate with the opportunity to begin or continue college-level courses or vocational training as approved and deemed appropriate by the Supervisor of Education. The course of study should relate to the recipient’s career choice and is not restricted to the local institution’s FPI factory needs.
APPLICANTS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
1. Full-time FPI worker.
2. Favorable recommendation for participation from his supervisor
3. Compliant with all relevant institution requirements (e.g. disciplinary record, custody level, etc.)
4. Verifiable enrollment in an institution of higher learning
5. Maintain a verifiable average grade of “C” or better
6. Sign an agreement to provide the AW [associate warden] with an unaltered, original copy of his grades
Scholarships should not exceed the cost of tuition and books for one course, and monies are to be paid only to the college, university, or technical institution providing instruction. Recipients may not receive more than one scholarship per school period.
Applicants must complete a Scholarship Application and submit it to Ms. Vaughan at the UNICOR Business Office at FCC Petersburg-Low by March 31th to be considered for selection.
Ms. A. Vaughan; Remote Operational Accountant Mr. M. Danzey; Associate Warden (I&E)
While it took much too long to obtain and distribute information concerning the FCI Petersburg UNICOR Scholarship Program, I’m ecstatic to be able to do so today. Now all inmates at FCI Petersburg — who qualify for the scholarship program — will have access to it, not only the few special inmates who had befriended staff and were able to receive information about it because of those special relationships. I consider this a giant leap forward in inmate equality in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and specifically at FCI Petersburg.
PRISONEDUCATION.COM NOTE: If you come across any memorandums at your institution (state, federal, or private), please send them to PrisonEducation.com. We would enjoy reading about prison education or prison operations. Each and every memorandum would be greatly appreciated. If you’re interested in also writing an article or commentary concerning a procured memorandum, we would be more than willing to review it for potential publication.