Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3247
By: Allen


Since 1993, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has conducted a pilot
program in Lockhart, Texas that allows inmates to work for private-sector
corporations within the walls of the prison, earning a prevailing wage.  A
portion of the inmate's wage is used to help pay for the cost of
incarceration, victim restitution, donation to the Crime Victims
Compensation Fund, and dependent support. Since the program's inception in
1993, inmates have paid more than $3 million to the state, crime victims,
and inmate family members.  The 75th Legislative session created called the
Private Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority (authority), which
approves, certifies, and oversees the operations of private-sector prison
industry programs in Texas.  The authority addresses concerns of displaced
workers as a result of inmate employment and ensures that Texas remains in
compliance with the federal prison enhancement certification program.  H.B.
3247 allows Texas Correctional Industries to participate in the Private
Sector Industries program.  

It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice in
SECTION 1 (Section 497.004(b), Government Code) of this bill. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 497.004(b), Government Code, to authorize the
Texas Board of Criminal Justice (board), by rule, to develop and the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice (department) to administer an incentive pay
scale for the inmates who participate in prison industries, consistent with
rules adopted  by the Private Sector Prison Industries Authority under
Subchapter C.  Requires the department to apportion  pay  earned by an
inmate in the same manner as is required by rules adopted by the Private
Sector Prison Industries Oversight Authority (authority) under Section
497.057 (Rules), rather than 497.051 (Purpose; Definition), Government

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 497.006, Government Code, to require the
department to count the number of inmates participating in a work program
under a contract entered into under this section to determine, under
Section 497.062 (Limitation on Number of Participants), the number of
inmates employed in private sector prison industries programs, rather than
conditional work programs. 

SECTION 3.  Amends Section 497.056(b), Government Code, to include the cost
to the department of paying the reimbursable expenses of authority  members
under Section 497.055  (Reimbursment) in the costs of the authority and the
department in implementing this Subchapter to which the legislature is
authorized for appropriate funds. 

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 497.058, Government Code, to require the
authority, by rule, to require that inmate employees at each private sector
prison industries program (program) are not paid less than the prevailing
wage as computed by the authority or as determined by the authority using
surveys, rather than authorizing the authority to permit employers to pay
an employee the minimum wage for the two-month period beginning on the date
employment begins.  Sets forth the conditions for the purpose of
computations or determinations required of the authority by this section,
rather than the computations required by this section. 

 SECTION 5.  Amends Section 497.059, Government Code, to prohibit the
authority from granting initial certification to a private sector prison
industries program of the authority determining that the operation of the
program would result in the loss of jobs provided by the employer in this
state. Provides that a program does not result in the loss of existing jobs
provided by the employer in this state if, but for the existence of the
program, the jobs would be filled outside of the United States. 

SECTION 6.  Amends Section 501.024, Labor Code, to exempt a person other
than an inmate participating in a Texas Correctional Industries contract
described by Section 497.006, Government Code, from being excluded from
coverage as an employee. 

SECTION 7.  Repealer: Section 497.0581, Government Code (Inmate

SECTION 8.  Effective date: September 1, 1999.

SECTION 9.  Emergency clause.