H. B. 2471
(By Delegates Perry, Beach, Hartman, Pino,
Leach and Michael)
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[March 1, 2005]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §25-1-3c, relating to
inmate funds; establishing a financial responsibility program
for inmates; requiring wardens to deduct a portion from inmate
earnings to be used to satisfy child support payments and
legitimate court-ordered financial obligations; providing for
administrative fees; and requiring the Division of Corrections
to develop policies and procedures for the administration of
the program and the maintenance of records.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §25-1-3c, to read as
ARTICLE 1. ORGANIZATION, INSTITUTIONS AND CORRECTIONS MANAGEMENT.
§25-1-3c. Financial responsibility program for inmates.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) There is an urgent need for vigorous enforcement of child support, restitution and other court ordered obligations;
(2) The duty of inmates to provide for the needs of dependent
children, including their necessary food, clothing, shelter,
education and health care should not be avoided because of where the
(3) A person owing a duty of child support who chooses to
engage in behaviors that result in the person becoming incarcerated
should not be able to avoid child support obligations; and
(4) Each sentenced inmate should be encouraged to meet his or
her legitimate court-ordered financial obligations.
(b) As part of the initial classification process into a
correctional facility, the Division of Corrections shall assist the
inmate in developing a financial plan for meeting the inmate's child
support obligations, if any exist. At subsequent program reviews,
the Division shall consider the inmate's efforts to fulfill those
obligations as indicative of that individual's acceptance and
demonstrated level of responsibility.
(c)(1) The warden shall deduct from the earnings of each
inmate, legitimate court-ordered financial obligations. The warden
shall also deduct child support payments from the earnings of each
inmate who has a court-ordered financial obligation. The
Commissioner of the Division of Corrections shall develop a policy
that outlines the formula for the distribution of the offender's
income and the formula shall include a percentage deduction, not to
exceed forty percent in the aggregate, for any court ordered victim
restitution, court fees and child support obligations owed under a support order, including an administrative fee not to exceed one
dollar, consistent with the provisions of subsection c, section four
hundred six, article fourteen, chapter forty-eight of this code,
support the Division of Correction's administration of this
(2) In the event that the inmate worker's income is subject to
garnishment for child support enforcement deductions, it shall be
calculated on the net wages after taxes, legal financial obligations
(3) The Division of Corrections shall develop the necessary
administrative structure to record inmates' wages and keep records
of the amount inmates pay for child support.
(4) Nothing in this section limits the authority of the Bureau
for Child Support Enforcement of the Department of Health and Human
Resources from taking collection action against an inmate's moneys,
assets or property.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to
establish a financial
responsibility program for inmates. The program would require
wardens to deduct a portion from inmate earnings to be used to
satisfy child support payments and legitimate court-ordered
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
This bill was recommended for introduction and passage during
the 2005 legislative session by the Legislative Oversight Committee
on the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.