Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research

Local Government Committee

HB 1762

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning local government contracts for correctional industries services.

Sponsors: Representatives Williams, Darneille, Upthegrove, Hasegawa, Simpson and Ormsby.

Brief Summary of Bill
  • Prohibits local governments from contracting with the Department of Corrections for Correctional Industries services if such contracts will have the effect of terminating classified public employees.

Hearing Date: 2/6/07

Staff: Jessica Nowakowski (786-7291).


The Department of Corrections (DOC) operates five classes of correctional industry work programs. All inmates working in class I - IV employment receive financial compensation for their work. Class V jobs are court ordered community work that is preformed for the benefit of the community without financial compensation.

Class II Industries. Class II ("tax reduction") industries are state-owned and operated industries designed to reduce the costs for goods and services for public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Industries in this class must be closely patterned after private sector industries but with the objective of reducing public support costs rather than making a profit. The products and services of this industry, including purchased products and services necessary for a complete product line, may only be sold to public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and to private contractors when the goods purchased will ultimately be used by a public agency or a nonprofit organization. However, to avoid waste or spoilage, by-products and surpluses of timber, agricultural, and animal husbandry enterprises may be sold at private sale or donated to nonprofit organizations when there is no public sector market for such goods.

Inmates working in tax reduction industries do so at their own choice and are paid a gratuity which cannot exceed the wage paid for work of a similar nature in the locality in which the industry is located. Class II gratuities range from 35 cents to $1.10 per hour and includes such jobs as: producing aluminum signs, license plates and tabs, mattresses, asbestos abatement, meat processing, optical lab, engraving, pheasant raising, furniture manufacturing, screen printing and embroidery, industrial sewing, and laundry. Security and custody services are provided without charge by the DOC.

Class III Industries. Class III ("Institutional Support") industries are solely operated by the DOC with the objective being to offset tax and other public support costs. Except for inmates who work in training programs, inmates in this class are paid a gratuity ranging between $30 to $55 per month. All supervision, management, and custody services are solely provided by the DOC.

Inmates working in class III industries provide maintenance and operation of the DOC's institution. Ground keepers, barbers, dental assistants, truck drivers, fork lift operators, mechanics, library aides, typists, and interpreters, are examples of jobs found in the class III industries work program.

Class IV Industries. Class IV ("Community Work") industries are operated by the DOC and are designed to provide services in the inmate's resident community. Inmates working in class IV industries provide services at a reduced cost to other state agencies, county and local government, to persons who are poor or infirm, and nonprofit organizations. Local governments that hire inmates must provide supervision service without charge to the state and must pay the inmate a gratuity.

Janitorial services, grounds keeping, litter control, institutional kitchen support, special event seating set-up, wheelchair cleaning, tree planting, forest maintenance, and fire suppression are examples of jobs found in the class IV industries work program.

Summary of Bill:

On or after the effective date of this act, local governments are prohibited from executing or renewing a contract with the DOC in order to purchase class II through IV Correctional Industries services if:

1.   The service has been customarily and historically provided by classified public employees before the effective date of the act;
2.   The purchase of such correctional industry services will have the effect of terminating classified public employees or positions existing at the time the contract was executed or renewed; and
3.   A bargaining unit is represented and there has not been agreement by that bargaining unit representative that such bargaining unit work can be performed by prison labor.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.