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Washington Inmate Labor Programs, SJR 8212 (2007)

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Washington Constitution
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Senate Joint Resolution 8212 amendment was one of six statewide ballot measures that Washington voters scrutinized on November 6, 2007. It passed, with 61% of voters registering their approval.[1].

SJR 8212 authorized state-operated inmate labor programs and programs in which inmate labor is used by private entities through state contracts. It also prohibited privately operated programs from what it described as unfair competition with Washington businesses.

SJR 8212 became the 100th amendment to the Washington State Constitution, amending Section 29 of Article II.

Election results

Washington SJR 8212 (2007)
Approveda Yes 937,557 60.71%

Election Results via: Washington Secretary of State

Sponsors of the bill

Sponsors of the bill included: Senators Hargrove, Carrell, Regala, Stevens

Voting results

Below are the voting results for the measure as it passed through the House and Senate.

Yeas Nays Absent Excused
Senate 49 0 0 0
House 83 15 0 0

Statement of support

Some of the arguments in support of the amendment include:

  • Inmates should work to reduce their burden on taxpayers
  • Similar programs have been shown to reduce recidivism
  • This work was available until 2004 when a ruling by the court eliminated it. This amendment would restore the benefits to the legislature.[2]

Drafted by: Jim Hargrove, State Senator, 24th Legislative District; Mike Carrell, State Senator, 28th Legislative District; AL O’BRIEN, State Representative, 1st Legislative District; Jeralita "Jeri" Costa, former Washington State Senator; Donald G. Pierce, Executive Director, Washington Association, Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

Statement of opposition

Some of the arguments of opposition include:

  • If imprisoned criminals are provided with private-sector jobs under this program, there are then fewer jobs for law-abiding citizens who are competing for jobs.
  • Preparing felons to return to the community with job skills can already be accomplished through existing vocational training and educational programs that provide inmates future employment opportunities. Government should not compete with business.[3]

Drafted by: Lynn Schindler, State Representative, 4th Legislative District; Larry Crouse, State Representative, 4th Legislative District.

Media perspective

The Daily Astorian editorialized in favor of passing the measure, [4] as did the Seattle Post-Intelligencer[5] and the Yakima Herald Republic.[6]

See also

Suggest a link

External links