08 Feb Commissary Disruptions Update
For the last several months, the commissary, which is a store operated by UCI that sells various products to incarcerated individuals, has experienced shortages of items and unusually inconsistent staffing. UCI is working diligently with our vendors to purchase products and maintain commissary staffing. In the meantime, we would like to answer some questions we’ve received in kites and grievances to give you additional information on the delays.
We understand the frustration any impact to commissary can cause and we appreciate your patience while we manage this issue. Please remember that policy recommends you write a kite to commissary to inquire about your order first, and if you cannot find a resolution a grievance should be your next step. Thank you again for your patience during these unusual times.
Why does commissary have so many items out of stock? The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted nearly every aspect of the supply chain, or the system that includes manufacturing and transportation that gets items from where they are made to where they are going. This is impacting UCI’s ability to get many items from our vendors. This is not just an issue for UCI. Stores across Utah and the country are in the same position. Because there are fewer items available, the cost of these items is also higher.
What is UCI doing to reduce the shortage? We work with many wholesale vendors in order to get you the best price for the commissary items. We reach out to our vendors weekly to see what items they have available. If they do not have them in stock, we contact other vendors for the product. Some people have suggested we go to local stores to find the items. Unfortunately, purchasing items from a regular store, like Walmart or Smiths, costs significantly more because they are not wholesale vendors. The costs for these items would be significantly more than the prices we have through our other vendors.
How do we get our refunds after an item is out of stock? UCI works with the Finance department’s inmate accounting to issue refunds to your account as quickly as possible. We are processing refunds every day, so if you have not received a refund after two weeks, please let commissary know via Kite. If it is less than two weeks, we ask for your patience. Because of the high number of credits that need to be issued, the refunds may be slower than normal.
Why is commissary delivery disrupted? As you are aware, UDC follows health department guidelines for Covid-19 isolation, testing and quarantine. Unit lockdowns have included our commissary shop workers on occasion. We have worked to find other people willing to work in the commissary during the quarantines, and have used UCI staff members from different worksites to fill in when possible. UCI is doing everything possible to minimize the impact to the delivery schedule.