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HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 2--Referred to the Electorate of Oregon by the 1997 Legislature to be voted on at the Special Election, May 20, 1997.




RESULT OF "YES" VOTE: A "yes" vote restricts inmate lawsuits about work assignments, allows interstate shipment of prison made products.

RESULT OF "NO" VOTE: A "no" vote means inmate lawsuits are possible and prison made products will not be shipped in interstate commerce.

SUMMARY: This measure modifies current provisions in the Oregon Constitution establishing requirements for work programs for state prison inmates. The changes contained in the measure: (1) make it clear that inmates have no right to a job or to participate in work, on-the-job training or educational programs; (2) provide that the restrictions on uses of compensation earned by state prison inmates for work they perform are subject to requirements of federal law in order to allow corrections officials to continue operating federally certified prison industries; and (3) modify the definition of "full-time" to include time spent on security measures and transportation of inmates while inmates are participating in work or on-the-job training.

ESTIMATE OF FINANCIAL IMPACT: The measure will allow the Department of Corrections to continue interstate sales of garments and furniture, which generated an estimated $549,000 in gross revenue in fiscal year 1995-1996.

Revenues as a result of this measure may be a funding source for the development and maintenance of the Prison Reform and Inmate Work Act of 1994, and may reduce the costs of incarcerating inmates.

Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:

PARAGRAPH 1. Section 41, Article I of the Constitution of the State of Oregon, is amended to read:

Sec. 41. (1) Whereas the people of the state of Oregon find and declare that inmates who are confined in corrections institutions should work as hard as the taxpayers who provide for their upkeep; and whereas the people also find and declare that inmates confined within corrections institutions must be fully engaged in productive activity if they are to successfully re-enter society with practical skills and a viable work ethic; now, therefore, the people declare:

(2) All inmates of state corrections institutions shall be actively engaged full-time in work or on-the-job training. The work or on-the-job training programs shall be established and overseen by the corrections director, who shall ensure that such programs are cost-effective and are designed to develop inmate motivation, work capabilities and cooperation. Such programs may include boot camp prison programs. Education may be provided to inmates as part of work or on-the-job training so long as each inmate is engaged at least half-time in hands-on training or work activity.

(3) Each inmate shall begin full-time work or on-the-job training immediately upon admission to a corrections institution, allowing for a short time for administrative intake and processing. The specific quantity of hours per day to be spent in work or on-the-job training shall be determined by the corrections director, but the overall time spent in work or training shall be full-time. However, no inmate has a legally enforceable right to a job or to otherwise participate in work, on-the-job training or educational programs or to compensation for work or labor performed while an inmate of any state, county or city corrections facility or institution. The corrections director may reduce or exempt participation in work or training programs by those inmates deemed by corrections officials as physically or mentally disabled, or as too dangerous to society to engage in such programs.

(4) There shall be sufficient work and training programs to ensure that every eligible inmate is productively involved in one or more programs. Where an inmate is drug and alcohol addicted so as to prevent the inmate from effectively participating in work or training programs, corrections officials shall provide appropriate drug or alcohol treatment.

(5) The intent of the people is that taxpayer-supported institutions and programs shall be free to benefit from inmate work. Prison work programs shall be designed and carried out so as to achieve net cost savings in maintaining government operations, or so as to achieve a net profit in private sector activities.

(6) The provisions of this section are mandatory for all state corrections institutions. The provisions of this section are permissive for county or city corrections facilities. No law, ordinance or charter shall prevent or restrict a county or city governing body from implementing all or part of the provisions of this section. Compensation, if any, shall be determined and established by the governing body of the county or city which chooses to engage in prison work programs, and the governing body may choose to adopt any power or exemption allowed in this section.

(7) The corrections director shall contact public and private enterprises in this state and seek proposals to use inmate work. The corrections director may: (a) install and equip plants in any state corrections institution, or any other location, for the employment or training of any of the inmates therein; or (b) purchase, acquire, install, maintain and operate materials, machinery and appliances necessary to the conduct and operation of such plants. The corrections director shall use every effort to enter into contracts or agreements with private business concerns or government agencies to accomplish the production or marketing of products or services produced or performed by inmates.

(8) Compensation, if any, for inmates who engage in prison work programs shall be determined and established by the corrections director. Such compensation shall not be subject to existing public or private sector minimum or prevailing wage laws, except where required to comply with federal law. Inmate compensation from enterprises entering into agreements with the state shall be exempt from unemployment compensation taxes to the extent allowed under federal law. Inmate injury or disease attributable to any inmate work shall be covered by a corrections system inmate injury fund rather than the workers compensation law. Except as otherwise required by federal law to permit transportation in interstate commerce of goods, wares or merchandise manufactured, produced or mined, wholly or in part by inmates or except as otherwise required by state law, any compensation earned through prison work programs shall only be used for the following purposes: (a) reimbursement for all or a portion of the costs of the inmate's rehabilitation, housing, health care, and living costs; (b) restitution or compensation to the victims of the particular inmate's crime; (c) restitution or compensation to the victims of crime generally through a fund designed for that purpose; (d) financial support for immediate family of the inmate outside the corrections institution; and (e) payment of fines, court costs, and applicable taxes.

(9) All income generated from prison work programs shall be kept in a separate account and shall only be used for implementing, maintaining and developing prison work programs. Prison industry work programs shall be exempt from statutory competitive bid and purchase requirements. Expenditures for prison work programs shall be exempt from the legislative appropriations process to the extent the programs rely on income sources other than state taxes and fees. Where state taxes or fees are the source of capital or operating expenditures, the appropriations shall be made by the legislative assembly. The state programs shall be run in a businesslike fashion and shall be subject to regulation by the Prison Industries Board, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer. The Board shall meet at least quarterly and shall act by vote of any two of the three members. Expenditures from the state prison work programs account must be approved by the Board. Agreements with private enterprise as to state prison work programs must be approved by the Board. The corrections director shall make all state records available for public scrutiny and the records shall be subject to audit by the Secretary of State.

(10) Prison work products or services shall be available to any public agency and to any private enterprise without restriction imposed by any state or local law, ordinance or regulation as to competition with other public or private sector enterprises. The products and services of corrections work programs shall be provided on such terms as are approved by the corrections director.

(11) Inmate work shall be used as much as possible to help operate the corrections institutions themselves and to support other government operations. This work includes, but is not limited to, institutional food production; maintenance and repair of buildings, grounds, and equipment; office support services, including printing; prison clothing production and maintenance; prison medical services; training other inmates; agricultural and forestry work, especially in parks and public forest lands; and environmental clean-up projects. Every state agency shall cooperate with the corrections director in establishing inmate work programs.

(12) As used throughout this section, unless the context requires otherwise: "full-time" means the equivalent of at least forty hours per seven day week, specifically including time spent by inmates as required by the Department of Corrections, while the inmate is participating in work or on-the-job training, to provide for the safety and security of the public, correctional staff and inmates; "corrections director" means the person in charge of the state corrections system.

(13) This section is self-implementing and supersedes all existing inconsistent statutes. This section shall become effective April 1, 1995. If any part of this section or its application to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid for any reason, then the remaining parts or applications to any persons or circumstances shall not be affected but shall remain in full force and effect.

PARAGRAPH 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at a special election held throughout this state on May 20, 1997.

NOTE: Boldfaced type indicates new language; [brackets and italic] type indicates deletions or comments.

Explanatory Statement

Legislative Argument

Arguments in Favor

Arguments in Opposition

Online Voters' Guide Contents Page