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06/15/2024 05:53 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2023 09:37 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey
To: All House members
Subject: Minimum Wage for Incarcerated Individuals
While the 13th Amendment outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, the amendment excuses forcible labor as punishment for those convicted of crimes. This unjust practice is comparable to modern-day slavery. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (DOC) inmate compensation policy statement from 2008, state correctional institutions (SCIs) are required to pay individuals for their labor. However, pay rates for those in SCIs differ depending on their location, program, or production, with those who work in state-owned correctional industries earning between $0.19 per hour and $0.42 per hour.
For this reason, we will be introducing legislation that would establish a $5.00 minimum wage for incarcerated individuals in SCIs. Additionally, the legislation would require the DOC to provide pay increases and bonuses, as well as certification for skilled labor. Furthermore, incarcerated individuals in SCIs may choose to take part in educational or vocational programs instead of working and they would be protected from solitary confinement and other punishments for refusing to work. 
Compensating people with pennies is undeniably immoral. It is vital that we eradicate this injustice and stop exploiting those in the criminal justice system. Please join us in co-sponsoring this essential legislation to ensure that we promote fair compensation for incarcerated individuals.

Introduced as HB581