Election Prep: WA Senate Joint Resolution 8212
The legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on inmate labor.
This amendment would authorize state-operated inmate labor programs and programs in which inmate labor is used by private entities through state contracts, and prohibit privately operated programs from unfairly competing with Washington businesses.
Explanation and pros/cons here
, full text here
Basically, right now prison labor is allowed, but only in programs run directly by the state. The current state constitution specifically prohibits that labor being contracted out to private parties. This would eliminate that restriction, allowing the state to contract out the prison labor to outside companies.
Now, in general I'm all for privatization, but I am very wary of government contractors in specific. The proponents point to this giving increased opportunities for inmates to work and therefore pay off debts and be more prepared to resume their position in society when they get out. I agree with the "con" position that there are better ways to do this. Including of course the state expanding inmate labor directly, instead of contacting to private parties to do it.
I don't think this is a good idea, and I think the existing provision of the state constitution is fine. So therefore, on this one my choice is: