Senate Bill No. 517
(By Senators K. Facemyer and Unger)
[Introduced February 6, 2012; referred to the Committee on Agriculture; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §25-8-1, §25-8-2, §25-8-3 and §25-8-4, all relating to creating the Community Gardens Work Release Act of 2012; establishing a community gardens work release program; stating findings; authorizing the Division of Corrections to provide the labor force and contract with state and local governmental and other agencies for participation; and proposal of rules governing the program utilizing male and female inmates and confined juvenile or youthful offenders of this state for the purposes of projects contemplated by this article.
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 article, designated §25-8-1, §25-8-2, §25-8-3 and §25-8-4, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. COMMUNITY GARDENS WORK RELEASE ACT OF 2012.
§25-8-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that by utilizing the Division of Corrections as the sole labor force, the beautification and rehabilitation of the State of West Virginia can be attained through the development, reclamation and beautification of highways, parks and communities and contribute to the reduction of prison overcrowding.
The Division of Corrections may establish a community gardens work release program to develop and reclaim areas including highways, lakes, parks and community land utilized as public sites for recreation and beatification projects. This program shall be a part of a Master Gardeners program and the development of Community Gardens throughout the state.
The Commissioner of the Division of Corrections or the commissioner’s designee may contract with the Division of Highways, Natural Resources, Forestry, Parks and Recreation, Agriculture, local county and municipal governments and agencies and all community volunteer organizations to implement the purposes of this article, while utilizing the Division of Corrections as the sole labor force.
§25-8-4. Legislative rules.
The commissioner shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to effectuate the provisions of this article. The rules shall provide that:
(a) The Division of Corrections is the sole labor force provider for the projects contemplated by this article.
(b) Both male and female inmates and confined juvenile or youthful offenders of this state be utilized for the purposes of projects contemplated by this article. The inmates may work forty hours, four ten hour days, a week in the field, supplemented on the fifth day with day classes and training for merit rewards and class requirements to complete their class graduation to meet parole and sentence specifications. The sixth day shall be classroom study, consisting of classes and projects to help the inmates become better citizens and adults in preparation to go back into the general public after their time has been served, including counseling, with the inmates in groups of eight to ten to discuss their personal issues and receive professional help, given from volunteer members who represent churches and rehabilitation services within each individual community.
(c) The inmates be taught trade skills and be required to continue education through classes and seminars to an amount that warrants certificates and training merit.
(d) The classes serve as a means to fulfill the educational goals' and job training of the inmates in order for early release and parole qualifications while domiciled at an institution.
(e) The inmates may volunteer their services in an additional three hundred to five hundred hours of community work a year to compensate their debt to the local communities.
(f) The inmates complete the educational credits established along with the volunteer program to complete their early release and entry back into the public work place.
(g) Inmates in this work release program must follow all program rules. They must search for and retain employment and be monitored to ensure compliance. They must continue therapy, treatment, programming and classes. Failure to abide by the rules may result in sanctions or termination from the program.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the Community Gardens Work Release Act of 2012. The bill establishes a community gardens work release program and authorizes the Division of Corrections to provide the labor force and contract with state and local governmental and other agencies for participation. The bill also provides for rules governing the program and utilizing male and female inmates and confined juvenile or youthful offenders of this state for the purposes of projects contemplated by this article.
This article has been completely rewritten; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.