Modified: March 18, 2019 11:19am
Last week, Erie County Legislator Joe Lorigo introduced a resolution in opposition to higher minimum wage for inmates in New York State. The Prison Minimum Wage Act (S3138/A1275), proposes raising minimum wage for inmates to $3.00 per hour, which would be more than triple the current labor rate.
Currently, wages range from 10 cents an hour to $1.14 an hour for work such as cleaning, manufacturing license plates, office supplies and textiles. The bill would require any inmate to be paid the new wage, regardless of whether they work in a prison, for a non-profit organization, for work release, or a residential treatment facility. This was introduced at the same time Governor Cuomo’s proposed executive budget slashes $60 million in aid to local municipalities in AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) funding. This cut will result in budget gaps of thousands to millions for local municipalities.
Legislator Lorigo said, “This is another example of mismanaged priorities out of Albany. When the governor’s budget cuts funding for important programs and services to Western New York towns and villages, raising minimum wage for inmates is unacceptable. The hard-working people of New York State do not deserve this abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Legislator Rath said, “Raising the wage for incarcerated criminals is insulting to the many law-abiding taxpayers in New York State and Erie County. It is especially inappropriate after the governor cut funding to municipalities in his proposed budget. This money should be kept in our communities where it belongs.”
The resolution was sent to the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee for further discussion. A copy of the resolution can be found here.