Cuomo backs raising inmate pay
Aug 29, 2019 12:55 am
David Lombardo reports in the Albany Times Union that on Aug. 27 Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed support for raising the minimum wage for inmates. Currently those incarcerated in the state prison system can earn between 10 cents and $1.14 per hour working behind bars, an average of 62 cents per hour. Last year the Assembly and the State Senate had bills that would raise the minimum wage for inmates to $3 per hour, but both stalled and no votes were held. "Work is work. Individuals serving time in prison deserve to be paid wages commensurate with work elsewhere, period," Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Brooklyn Democrat, wrote in an op-ed for the Daily News. "To reject this premise is to accept that some in our society should provide mandatory free-to-low cost labor for everyone else's benefit, a concept this country rejected after much bloodshed and political compromise." State Senator Daphne Jordan, a Republican representing parts of Columbia and Rensselaer counties, called the idea "ridiculous.... Welcome to Albany's 'Bizzaro World,' where members of the Senate Democratic Majority are advocating a higher minimum wage for incarcerated criminals -- and expect law-abiding, hard-working taxpayers to foot the bill." The last time inmates saw a pay raise in New York was 25 years ago when Cuomo's father was governor. Read the full story in the Albany Times Union.