Pay raise proposed for NYS prison inmates

Feb 8, 2019

There’s a proposal to raise the salary that inmates in New York State get for doing certain jobs in prison.

Among the sponsors of the legislation is freshman State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Brooklyn-based lawmaker who would like to raise the prison minimum wage to $3 an hour.

That’s a pretty big jump, compared to what the inmates make now, which Myrie says is in the range of 10 cents to 65 cents an hour. And he says that people incarcerated in state prisons have to pay for phone calls, stamps and other necessities.

Myrie says that incarcerated people deserve to be treated with dignity and that they haven’t had an increase in their pay since 1993. Even so, he says the majority of people confined in New York State prisons are required to work six hours per day, five days per week.

The proposal for the pay hike has drawn fire online from some Republican state lawmakers and also in a statement from Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. She says it is hard to imagine that legislators from New York City are proposing to give a big pay raise to prisoners at the same time the state is slated to cut funding for some services in towns and villages.