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20 Percent Pay Raise for Delaware Prison Inmates

(The Center Square) – Delaware inmates could be getting a 20% raise for work duties over the next two years, under a proposal being floated by the state's prison system.

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The state Department of Corrections is seeking about $45,000 in additional funding in the upcoming state budget to give inmates who perform work while incarcerated a pay raise.

Under the two-phased wage boost, inmates would get a 10% raise in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and another 10% in the next fiscal year, according to the agency's proposal.

Corrections Commissioner Monroe Hudson told members of the state Assembly's Joint Finance Committee last week that incarcerated workers haven’t gotten a wage increase in decades while the cost of commissary items available for purchase by inmates has increased.

He said the average current hourly rate for offenders eligible for work duties is about 28 cents per hour.

Delaware uses state prisoners for garment and upholstery manufacturing and sells inmate-made products to state agencies, public schools and the public. Revenue from the sales helps the Department of Corrections pay staffing costs.

The state's prison system has about 4,300 inmates, including those who have already been sentenced for crimes and others awaiting pretrial hearings, according to the department.