Read the State Legislative Tracker. New edition available now!

New York Prisoner Volunteer Proposal, Proposal 2 (2009)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
New York Constitution
Seal of New York.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXX
The New York Prisoner Volunteer Proposal, Proposal 2 appeared on the November 3, 2009 ballot in New York as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The proposal suggested authorizing the New York Legislature to allow prisoners to perform volunteer work for nonprofit organizations.

A nonprofit organization is defined as an organization that functions for either a religious, charitable or educational purpose. Currently Article III, Section 24 of the New York Constitution prohibits the use, contract or donation of convict labor. The only exception is for state or public institutions.[1][2]

Election results

New York Proposal 2 was approved by voters on the night of November 3, 2009. Unofficial election results follow:[3]

Proposal 2
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 866,331 67.7%
No414,12332.3%

Text of measure

The short ballot summary New York voters saw on their ballot was:

The proposed amendment would authorize the Legislature to pass legislation to permit inmates in state and local correctional facilities to perform work for nonprofit organizations. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?[4]

Constitutional changes

See also: Amending the New York Constitution

According to the state Board of Elections, Proposal 2 amended Section 24 of Article 3 of the New York Constitution by stating:[5]

The legislature shall, by law, provide for the occupation and employment of prisoners sentenced to the several state prisons, penitentiaries, jails and reformatories in the state; and no person in any such prison, penitentiary, jail or reformatory, shall be required or allowed to work, while under sentence thereto, at any trade, industry or occupation, wherein or whereby his or her work, or the product or profit of his or her work, shall be farmed out, contracted, given or sold to any person, firm, association or corporation, provided that the legislature may provide by law that such prisoners may voluntarily perfrom work for nonprofit organizations. As used in this section, the terms “nonprofit organization means an organization operated exclusively for religious, charitable, or educational purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. This section shall not be construed to prevent the legislature from providing that convicts may work for, and that the products of their labor may be disposed of to, the state or any political division thereof, or for or to any public institution owned or managed and controlled by the state, or any political division thereof.

Section 24 of Article 3 previously read:

The legislature shall, by law, provide for the occupation and employment of prisoners sentenced to the several state prisons, penitentiaries, jails and reformatories in the state; and no person in any such prison, penitentiary, jail or reformatory, shall be required or allowed to work, while under sentence thereto, at any trade, industry or occupation, wherein or whereby his or her work, or the product or profit of his or her work, shall be farmed out, contracted, given or sold to any person, firm, association or corporation. This section shall not be construed to prevent the legislature from providing that convicts may work for, and that the products of their labor may be disposed of to, the state or any political division thereof, or for or to any public institution owned or managed and controlled by the state, or any political division thereof.

Article 3, section 24 was last amended by "vote of the people" on November 6, 2001.

Support

Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York

Sheriff's Association Council Thomas Mitchell said that nonprofit work is viewed as a good incentive for good behavior amongst prisoners. Prior to 2006, allowing prisoners to work for nonprofits was common practice, however that was changed when the New York Commission of Correction determined it was unconstitutional. "Sheriffs felt that it was a good tool to help control behavior of inmates. It's prisoners that don't have much time left on their jail sentences and are well-behaved with no discipline, typically," said Mitchell.[6]

According to spokeswoman Linda Foglia, The state Department of Correctional Services supported the ballot measure, along with the prison watchdog group, the Correctional Association of New York. According to Gangi, the measure would help inmates who struggle with idleness and who appreciate the opportunities to get involved with the community. They will feel productive, acquire skills and make contacts.[7]

Opposition

Opponents argued that approving Proposal 2 will mean increased competition with the private sector. Contracts that, in light of the state's dire economic status, are competitive, will only increase in competitiveness, said opponents.[8] Despite the arguments Proposal 2 does not have an organized opposition.[7]

Campaign contributions

No committees or contributions to campaigns relating to Proposal 2 were reported.[9]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of New York ballot measures, 2009

Editorial boards in support

  • The Post-Standard supported Proposal 2. In an editorial the board said, "Such a change would help prepare prisoners for release by giving them meaningful work experience through volunteering. It would differ from the state’s work-release program in that prisoners still could be locked up when their volunteer work day was done; work-release participants live in community residences. It also won’t take jobs that people outside of prison compete for, since it would involve volunteer work only...Allowing inmate work crews to provide labor to these organizations will help fill the gaps in funding them. It also will give the inmates a sense of giving back to the community."[10]

See also

External links

Additional reading

References