House Bill Bans Prisoners from Working Outside of Massachusetts -- Bill protects Massachusetts taxpayers, reflects Bay State values
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Representative Natalie Higgins, 978-602-3772
House Bill Bans Prisoners from Working Outside of Massachusetts
Bill protects Massachusetts taxpayers, reflects Bay State values
May 26, 2017 (BOSTON) – Representative Natalie M. Higgins (D-Leominster) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation that would prevent an inmate of a state correctional facility from laboring outside the Commonwealth. The bill ensures that taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly and are used to support crucial projects within the state.
“Prison labor programs are funded by Massachusetts taxpayers and, therefore, work done by prisoners should occur within Massachusetts to help address the needs of the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “These programs play an important part in supporting prisoners as they reenter society. In addition to protecting taxpayer dollars, this legislation will help ensure the integrity of prison labor programs.”
“We have seen the success of inmate work in our communities, including the inmate community work program in Bristol County which has saved the taxpayers of Bristol County $1.3 million annually,” said Representative Claire D. Cronin (D-Easton), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. “We have a legitimate state interest in keeping these programs in the communities that we serve, both from a financial and public safety perspective”
“I applaud the passage of today’s legislation because it sends an important message on how state money should be spent,” said the sponsor of H.3034, Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D–New Bedford). “It is now clear that Massachusetts law prohibits inmate work programs from taking place outside of the boundaries of the Commonwealth to ensure that the benefits of such programs are recouped right here in our communities, saving state taxpayers money. Rehabilitation, in the communities where inmates are serving their time, should be the main goal of these programs.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to fund projects within our State, supporting our own communities’ needs,” said Higgins.
Massachusetts inmates may currently provide services within the county where they are incarcerated. This work includes the care of public lands, buildings and grounds, and raising produce to be used in public institutions and state forests.
As the House continues its work on criminal justice reform, this legislation reflects a commitment to providing inmates with re-entry supports. Labor programs are considered a vital “step-down” program that can help individuals reintegrate and curb recidivism.