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A01275 Summary:

BILL NOA01275
 
SAME ASSAME AS S03138
 
SPONSORPerry
 
COSPNSRWeprin, De La Rosa, Epstein, Ortiz, Richardson, Walker, Mosley, Simon, Fernandez, Rivera, Jaffee, Gottfried, Taylor, Wright, Reyes, Niou, Jean-Pierre, Pichardo, Blake, Arroyo, Cruz, Rosenthal L, Darling
 
MLTSPNSRDenDekker, Nolan
 
Amd 170, 171, 177, 178, 184, 186 & 187, Cor L
 
Enacts "the prison minimum wage act" relating to payment for labor performed by inmates.
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A01275 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A1275
 
SPONSOR: Perry
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to enacting "the prison minimum wage act"   PURPOSE: To end the last vestiges of slavery and embrace the spirit and the prom- ise of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by providing a minimum wage of $3.00 an hour to inmates.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill provides that the act shall be known as the "Prison Minimum Wage Act." Section two of the bill amends subdivision 3 of § 170 of the correction law to provide that any inmate who volunteers to perform work for a nonprofit organization shall be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour. This subdivision also authorizes the state department of corrections and community supervision to charge the nonprofit organiza- tion a reasonable hourly rate for meals and housing of prisoners if applicable. Section three of the bill adds subdivision 3 to § 171 of the correction law to require that an inmate be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour for any labor performed. Section four of the bill adds subdivision 8 to § 177 of the correction law to require that an inmate be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour for any labor performed. Section five of the bill amends § 178 of the correction law to require that any inmate who is employed under a work release program or a resi- dential treatment facility program be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour. Section six of the bill adds subdivision 3 to § 184 the correction law to require that an inmate be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour who performs work as it is related to the manufacturing and prepar- ing of any article or material at the direction of the department of corrections and community supervision. Section seven of the bill adds subdivision 5 to § 186 of the correction law to require that an inmate be paid a minimum wage of three dollars per hour for any service performed. Section eight of the bill adds subdivision 5 to § 187 of the correction law to require that no inmate be compensated an amount that is less than three dollars an hour for work performed or work for which a wage is paid. This subdivision also states that "work for which a wage is paid" includes any task assigned to an inmate for which a wage would have been due except for his or her status as an inmate. Section nine of the bill provides the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: A study from the Prison Policy Institute found that inmates in New York State are amongst the lowest paid incarcerated people nationwide. On average, an inmate in New York State makes approximately $0.62 an hour, with some being paid as little as $0.10 per hour or $3.00 per week. This is far behind states like Nevada, Alaska, Maine, and Kansas where inmates are afforded the opportunity to make $3.00 an hour. Inmates are assigned an array of duties, from custodial and food services within a correctional facility to working at the Division of Correctional Industries, otherwise known as Corcraft, an entity within the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) where inmates manufacture license plates, janitorial supplies, and office furniture, amongst other things. A 2014 DOCCS report found that Corcraft employed approximately 2,100 prisoners in 14 facilities. Inmates who work at Corcraft are paid as low as $0.16 an hour and on average make $0.65 an hour. By law, Corcraft is exempt from participating in the competitive bid process and local governments are obligated to purchase commodities from Corcraft.As such, Corcraft has a monopoly over the municipal institution market. Because of the work provided by inmates, Corcraft generates approximately $50 million in sales per year, with only a fraction of that figure being provided to prisoners. According to DOCCS, as of January 1, 2017 there were approximately 51,000 under their custody and a 2013 study by the New York City Inde- pendent Budget Office found that New York City housed over 12,000 inmates. They cannot form unions, do not have a right to workers' compensation if they are injured on the job, and are required to partic- ipate in programs as assigned which, if they refuse, could lead them to face disciplinary measures such as solitary confinement and loss of good-time credits. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner in History Heather Ann Thompson described forced prison labor as an "institutional descendant of slavery" and the associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, a prisoners' rights advocacy group, defined prison labor as prison slave labor.Forced prison labor can be traced back to Black Codes where Southern states enacted the racist convict-lease system following the Civil War which allowed former slaves to be rented back to their former masters. Even the courts endorsed the practice as in 1871 the Supreme Court of Virgi- nia referred to prisoners as "slaves of the state." New York State must do better. Our prison system should not be one which is focused on punishment; rather, it should be dedicated to rehabili- tation. The overwhelming majority of inmates are released after they have paid their debt to society. By providing inmates a minimum wage of $3.00, it will afford them the opportunity to have earnings when they are released, allowing them the ability to better re-integrate into society, potentially reducing the recidivism rate, making New York a safer place, and demonstrating that New York State will no longer be a participant in act which attributes its origins to our greatest sin.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2018: A.11317 - Referred to Correction   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: 180 days; Effective immediately the addition, amendment, and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.
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A01275 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          1275
 
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 14, 2019
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. PERRY, DE LA ROSA, EPSTEIN, ORTIZ, RICHARDSON,
          WALKER,  MOSLEY  --  read  once  and  referred  to  the  Committee  on
          Correction
 
        AN  ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to enacting "the prison
          minimum wage act"
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  This  act  shall be known and may be cited as "the prison
     2  minimum wage act".
     3    § 2. Subdivision 3 of section 170 of the correction law, as  added  by
     4  chapter 256 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
     5    3.  Notwithstanding  any  other  provision  of  law,  an inmate may be
     6  permitted to leave the institution under guard  to  voluntarily  perform
     7  work  for a nonprofit organization; provided that each inmate who volun-
     8  teers to perform work for a nonprofit organization shall be paid a mini-
     9  mum hourly wage of not less than three dollars. The department shall  be
    10  entitled  to  charge the nonprofit organization a reasonable hourly rate
    11  for meals and housing of  such  prisoners,  if  any.  As  used  in  this
    12  section,  the  term "nonprofit organization" means an organization oper-
    13  ated exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes,  no
    14  part  of  the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private
    15  shareholder or individual.
    16    § 3. Section 171 of the correction law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
    17  subdivision 3 to read as follows:
    18    3.  Any  inmate performing labor as described in this section shall be
    19  compensated for his or her labor in accordance with  the  provisions  of
    20  subdivision five of section one hundred eighty-seven of this article.
    21    § 4. Subdivision 7 of section 177 of the correction law, as renumbered
    22  by  chapter  256  of the laws of 2010, is renumbered subdivision 8 and a
    23  new subdivision 7 is added to read as follows:

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05532-02-9

        A. 1275                             2
 
     1    7. Any inmate performing labor as described in this section  shall  be
     2  compensated  for  his  or her labor in accordance with the provisions of
     3  subdivision five of section one hundred eighty-seven of this article.
     4    § 5. Section 178 of the correction law, as added by chapter 476 of the
     5  laws of 1970, is amended to read as follows:
     6    §  178.  Participation in work release and other community activities.
     7  1. Nothing contained in this article shall be construed or applied so as
     8  to prohibit private employment of inmates in the community under a  work
     9  release  program, or a residential treatment facility program formulated
    10  pursuant to any provision of this chapter.
    11    2. Any inmate who is employed under a work release program or a  resi-
    12  dential  treatment facility program formulated pursuant to any provision
    13  of this chapter shall be compensated for his or her labor in  accordance
    14  with  the  provisions of subdivision five of section one hundred eighty-
    15  seven of this article.
    16    § 6. Section 184 of the correction law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
    17  subdivision 3 to read as follows:
    18    3.  Any  inmate  performing work as described in this section shall be
    19  compensated for his or her labor in accordance with  the  provisions  of
    20  subdivision five of section one hundred eighty-seven of this article.
    21    §  7.  Section  186  of  the correction law is amended by adding a new
    22  subdivision 5 to read as follows:
    23    5. Any service performed by an inmate as  described  in  this  section
    24  shall  be  compensated  in accordance with the provisions of subdivision
    25  five of section one hundred eighty-seven of this article.
    26    § 8. Section 187 of the correction law is  amended  by  adding  a  new
    27  subdivision 5 to read as follows:
    28    5.  Notwithstanding  any  provision  of law, rule or regulation to the
    29  contrary, no inmate shall be compensated an amount  that  is  less  than
    30  three  dollars  an  hour  for work performed or work for which a wage is
    31  paid. As used in this subdivision, "work  for  which  a  wage  is  paid"
    32  includes any task assigned to an inmate for which a wage would have been
    33  due except for his or her status as an inmate.
    34    § 9. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    35  it  shall  have become a law. Effective immediately the addition, amend-
    36  ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen-
    37  tation of this act on its effective date are authorized to be  made  and
    38  completed on or before such date.
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