Alabama Lawmakers Approve Inmate Labor Bill

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After a lengthy debate, lawmakers approved a bill to let private businesses form contracts with the state prison system for inmate labor, according to our media partner the Huntsville Times.

House members voted 73-22 for the bill that would let the corrections commissioner contract with businesses to have inmates build their products within the prisons. Under this new bill, the prison system could keep up to 40 percent of the inmate’s wages to help cover incarceration costs and up to 40 percent could also be taken to help cover any restitution the inmate was ordered to pay his or her victims.

Some lawmakers argued the program could take jobs from Alabama citizens.

The bill specifies that inmates would have to be paid the prevailing wages for the area they’re in and the type of work they perform. The program also would be strictly voluntary.

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature.