Local Politics

Lawmakers want more money from prisoners

Posted June 19, 2009

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— As they struggle to balance the state budget, lawmakers have begun eyeing prison inmates for extra revenue.

The proposed budget passed last week by the House calls for Correction Enterprises, which runs inmate manufacturing programs, to transfer $12.6 million to the state's operating funds in the 2009-10 fiscal year, which starts in July.

Correction Enterprises, which generates revenue from the sale of goods and services to state and local government agencies and some nonprofits, has transferred about $7.3 million a year to the state in recent years, said Keith Acree, spokesman for the Department of Correction.

Correction Enterprises also pays inmates for their work. In fiscal 2007-08, prisoners earned $4.9 million, Acree said.

The inmates can earn 40 cents to $3 a day doing various chores in prison or by working on a Correction Enterprises manufacturing project.

Unlike state workers, who had to take a 0.5 percent pay cut recently to help balance the current state budget, the pay rate for inmate labor wasn't reduced, Acree said. He added, however, that prisoners haven't seen their pay rates increased in 15 years.

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  • pattip574 Jun 22, 2009

    Mochabrown, I believe you've misread the article. Nowhere does it say they want a pay increase for prisoners. Prisoners earn pennies a day to help pay for their everyday expenses, like toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, socks, etc. This helps ease the burden from the families who have to send money for the inmate to buy such necessities. It also helps train the inmate for life on the outside as well as gives them a sense of worth. Trust me when I say, no inmate is getting rich off of the .25/hr they are earning. They have not seen raises in 15 years, and there are no plans to increase their wages.

  • mochabrown Jun 22, 2009

    Let me get this straight, they have cut State employee's pay, but want to give the inmates a pay increase. What will they come up with next.

    1st, give the illegal immigrants all the free health care, pay no taxes, give then a legal education all the while they came into this County illegally; yet while the LEGAl taxpaying citizens can't get free health care, taxes are INCREASED, some have taken a reduction in pay.

    Yet, all the Officials want to do is give more perks to those who commit crime and come here illegally. Maybe we need some new folk at the helm of these sessions; these folk are not thinking straight.

  • whatelseisnew Jun 19, 2009

    Whatever you do, do not get pregnant; they will come after your unborn child for taxes next.
    I wonder how far away we are from collapse. None of what the Federal and most State Governments is doing is sustainable. But the ones receiving and the ones ginning the programs are in denial. Once the free bees end, I wonder how much violence will occur.