Senate Bill No. 178

(By Senators Love, Ball, Dawson, Hunter, Mitchell and Ross)


[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported February 3, 2000.]


A BILL to amend and reenact section three-b, article one, chapter twenty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the creation and operation of inmate benefit funds in correctional institutions; creating special revenue accounts; and providing for an automated inmate family and victim notification system.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section three-b, article one, chapter twenty-five of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§25-1-3b. Inmate benefit funds.

(a) The commissioner of corrections shall establish an inmate benefit fund for each of the institutions under his or her jurisdiction. The inmate benefit fund is a fund held by the institutions for the benefit and welfare of inmates incarcerated in state correctional facilities and for the benefit of victims.
(b) There is hereby created a special revenue account in the state treasury for each inmate benefit fund established by the commissioner. Moneys received by an institution for deposit in an inmate benefit fund shall be deposited with the state treasurer to be credited to the special revenue account created for the institution's inmate benefit fund. Moneys in a special revenue account established for an inmate benefit fund may be expended by the institution for the purposes set forth in this section. Moneys to be deposited into an inmate benefit fund consist of:
(1) All profit from the exchange or commissary operation;
(2) All net proceeds from vending machines used for inmate visitation;
(3) All proceeds from contracted inmate telephone commissions;
(4) Any funds that may be assigned by inmates or donated to the institution by the general public or an inmate service organization on behalf of all inmates;
(5) Any funds confiscated considered contraband; and
(6) Any unexpended balances in individual inmate trustee funds if designated by the inmate upon his or her discharge from the institution.
(c) The inmate benefit fund may only be used for the following purposes at correctional facilities:
(1) Open-house visitation functions or other nonroutine inmate functions;
(2) Holiday functions which may include decorations and gifts for children of inmates;
(3) Cable television service;
(4) Rental of video cassettes;
(5) Payment of video license;
(6) Recreational supplies, equipment or area surfacing;
(7) Reimbursement of employee wages for overtime incurred during open house visitations and holiday functions;
(8) Post-secondary education classes;
(9) Reimbursement of a pro rata share of inmate work compensation;
(10) Household equipment and supplies in day rooms or units as approved by chief executive officers of institutions, excluding supplies used in the daily maintenance and sanitation of the unit;
(11) Christmas or other holidays gift certificates for each inmate to be used at the exchange or commissary;
(12) Any expense associated with the operation of the fund;
(13) Expenditures necessary to properly operate an automated inmate family and victim information notification system; and
(14) Any expense for improvement of the facility which will benefit the inmate population that is not otherwise funded.
(d) The institution shall compile a monthly report that specifically documents inmate benefit fund receipts and expenditures and a yearly report for the previous fiscal year by the first day of September of each year and submit the reports to the commissioner.

(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to codify historical practice related to the establishment and operation of inmate benefit funds and to provide for an automated inmate family and victim notification system.

This section has been completely rewritten; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.)