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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 28 : Public Institutions and Corrections

Chapter 011 : Supervision of Adult Inmates at the Correctional Facilities

Subchapter 002 : Employment of Inmates

(Cite as: 28 V.S.A. § 751b)
  • § 751b. General provisions governing offender work

    (a) To return value to communities, to assist victims of crime, to establish good habits of work and responsibility, to promote the vocational training of offenders, to pursue initiatives with private business to enhance offender employment opportunities, and to reduce the cost of operation of the Department of Corrections and of other State agencies, offenders may be employed in the production and delivery of goods, services, and foodstuffs to communities, to victims of crime, to correctional facilities, to other State agencies, and to other public or private entities authorized by this subchapter. To accomplish these purposes, the Commissioner may establish and maintain industries, farms, and institutional work programs at appropriate correctional facilities or other locations, plus community service work programs throughout the State.

    (b) An offender shall not be required to engage in unreasonable labor or to perform any work for which he or she is declared unfit by a physician employed or retained by the Department.

    (c) The Commissioner shall establish written guidelines governing the hours and conditions of offender work, and the rates of compensation of offenders for employment. Wage payments of offenders shall be set aside in a separate fund. The guidelines of the Department may provide for the making of deductions from wages of offenders to defray part or all of the cost of offender maintenance or payments to victims of crime. The guidelines may also provide for the setting aside by the Department of a portion of an offender’s wages to enable the offender to contribute to the support of his or her dependents, if any, to make necessary purchases from a commissary, to purchase approved books, instruments, and instruction not supplied by a correctional facility, and to set aside sums to be paid to the offender upon release from the custody or supervision of the Commissioner. Any interest that accrues from these wages during the period of such custody of an offender shall be credited to any fund maintained by the correctional facility for the welfare of offenders.

    (d) The labor, work product, or time of an offender may be sold, contracted, or hired out by the State only:

    (1) To the federal government.

    (2) To any state or political subdivision of a state, or to any nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal or state income taxation, subject to federal law, to the laws of the recipient state, and to the rules of the Department, provided that the Commissioner or designee may disapprove any future sales of offender produced goods or services to any nonprofit organization.

    (3) To any private person or enterprise not involving the provision of the federally authorized Prison Industries Enhancement Program, provided that the Commissioner or designee shall first determine that the offender work product in question is not otherwise produced or available within the State.

    (4) To charitable organizations where the offender work product is the handicraft of offenders and the Commissioner or designee has approved such sales in advance.

    (5) To political subdivisions of the State, community organizations, private persons, or enterprises when the Governor has authorized the work of offenders as necessary and appropriate as a response to a civil emergency.

    (e) Offender work programs managers shall seek to offset production, service, and related costs from product and service sales; however, this financial objective of offsetting the costs to the Department of servicing and supervising offender work programs shall not be pursued to the detriment of accomplishing the purposes of offender work programs set out in subsection (a) of this section or to the detriment of private businesses as safeguarded by section 761 of this title.

    (f) The Department of Corrections shall, in any new initiative involving sales of offender work products, seek to use the provisions of the federally authorized Prison Industries Enhancement Program.

    (g) [Repealed.]

    (h) The Commissioner shall consult and collaborate with the Commissioner of Labor at least annually to seek funding and support for vocational training for offenders to help offenders achieve a successful transition from the custody of the Commissioner to private life. To the extent feasible, any vocational training program for offenders shall incorporate the professional training standards applicable to the construction and other trades, and industries, existing in the private sector. (Added 1999, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 58, eff. May 24, 2000; amended 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006; 2009, No. 33, § 51; 2019, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)