H. B. 2271
(By Delegates Coleman, Stemple, Cann,
Tomblin, Thomas, Laird and Gillespie)
[Introduced January 14, 1998; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact sections one and twelve, article
five, chapter seventeen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend
and reenact sections three and four, article fifteen of said
chapter, all relating to making the state convict road force
mandatory; how it is to be used; work that may be performed
by convicts other than on state road force; and county
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections one and twelve, article five, chapter
seventeen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred
thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that
sections three and four, article fifteen of said chapter be
amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. STATE CONVICT ROAD FORCE.
§17-5-1. State convict road force; how used.
All male or female persons convicted of felony and sentenced
to imprisonment or confinement in the penitentiary by any court,
or who may hereafter be sentenced for a felony, whether actually
sentenced to labor or not, or so many thereof as may be required
by the state road commissioner, shall, as incident to
sentence or confinement, constitute the state convict road force
and as such may shall be employed under the supervision of the
state road commissioner in building, surfacing and maintaining
roads under the supervision of the state road commissioner,
including all roads in the state road system, and in and about
any quarries, gravel pits, sandbanks, crushers, brick kilns, or
other plants and places operated by the state road commission for
the manufacture and acquisition of materials for use in the
construction, maintenance and repair of such the roads.
§17-5-12. Work which may be performed by convicts other than on
state road force.
Convicts of either sex not employed in the state convict
road force as provided by article five, chapter seventeen,
shall be employed by the warden under the directions of the state
commissioner of public institutions in work for the state penitentiary or any farm now or hereafter under control of the
state and in work for any public, nonprofit enterprise or program
sponsored by the state or any of its governmental subdivisions,
but such convicts actually confined within the penitentiary and
not available for outside work shall as far as possible, be used
in the making of articles required by the state departments and
institutions. The warden may charge the various state
departments and institutions for such convict-made supplies the
actual costs of the materials used in the manufacture of the
articles furnished them and, in addition thereto, an amount
sufficient to defray the maintenance cost of the prisoners
employed in such this manufacture and to keep in repair with
suitable replacements the machinery, tools and appliances used in
the manufacture of such these articles, to the extent of the fair
market price thereof, the amount of which shall be stated by the
state commissioner of public institutions. Any articles and
supplies so manufactured and not required by the state
departments and institutions may be sold by the warden to
municipalities and counties and the agencies thereof, or to
federal agencies, upon the same terms and conditions, but in no
event shall such may these articles be sold to private persons,
firms or corporations, or be sold or consumed otherwise than by public departments and institutions of government.
shall does not impair any contracts now
existing between the state commissioner of public institutions
and any person, firm or corporation for the use of convict labor
for manufacturing within the walls of the penitentiary, nor
prevent the hiring of convicts either within or without the walls
as otherwise provided by this article.
ARTICLE 15. COUNTY CONVICT ROAD FORCE.
§17-15-3. County commission to provide for working of prisoners;
methods of discipline, etc.; working prisoners
court may commission shall provide for the
working of prisoners, and shall provide for their safekeeping
while working, and to this end the border lines of the county
shall constitute and be considered the walls of the jail, and the
representative of the county court commission having such this
work in charge is authorized to shall adopt safe and humane
methods of discipline and protection to enforce the provisions of
this article and to prevent the escape of the prisoners.
court shall commission may not employ prisoners
outside the county where they are convicted or imprisoned except
on the same terms and conditions and under the same rules and regulations as govern their employment within the county in which
they were convicted.
§17-15-4. Work by prisoners; relief of sheriffs and others from
liability for injuries, etc.
(a) Any person convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced
to confinement in a county or regional jail
shall, as incident to
such a sentence of confinement, be is required to perform labor
within the jail, as a trustee or otherwise, or in and upon the
buildings, grounds, institutions, roads, bridges, streams or
other public works of the county or the area within which the
regional jail is located if he or she meets the following
Such person Is at least eighteen years of age;
Such person Is physically and mentally sound and has
not been exempted for medical reasons from such work by a
licensed physician or other medical professional; and
Such person Is deemed by the county commission, the
sheriff or the regional jail commission not to pose a threat to
the community if released for work purposes.
(b) The work described in the subsection (a) of this section
shall be performed under the supervision, care and custody of the
county commission, the regional jail commission, the sheriff, his or her deputies, correctional officers or other person charged
with inmate supervision to perform maintenance or control litter
in this state.
(c) In order to effectuate the provisions of this section
the county commission, the sheriff or the regional jail
commission shall promulgate rules
and regulations for the safe
and useful employment of inmate labor.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the
contrary, the county commission, its members and agents, the
regional jail commission, its members or agents, the sheriff, his
or her deputies, correctional officers and agents
shall be are
immune from liability of any kind for accidents, injuries or
death to such an inmate except for accident, injury or death
resulting directly from gross negligence or malfeasance.
(e) The sheriff of the county in which the work is to be
performed, with the approval of the county commission, or the
regional jail commission may hire or appoint any personnel
necessary for the supervision of inmate labor.
(f) Nothing in this section
shall may be construed to allow
the use of inmate labor for private projects or as contract
employees of for profit businesses.
(g) Any inmate who performs work pursuant to the provisions of this section shall receive as sole and full compensation
therefor, a reduction in his or her term of incarceration of not
more than twenty-five percent of the original sentence excluding
any other statutorily granted "good time." Each eight-hour
period of approved work
shall entitle entitles an inmate to one
day's sentence reduction. Provided, That Any "good time" earned
pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be is in
addition to any other reduction of sentence the inmate may
(h) Any person being held as a detainee or for contempt may
voluntarily participate in
such the labor as provided for in this
section under the terms and conditions hereinbefore set forth.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to make the state convict
road force mandatory. It also deals with other work that shall
be performed by the convict road force, together with work
required by prisoners in county or regional jails.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.