Introduced Version Senate Bill 270 History

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Senate Bill No. 270

(By Senators Kessler, Hunter and Unger)


[Introduced January 18, 2008; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend and reenact §62-11A-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to eliminating obsolete language requiring circuit clerks to handle and disburse certain inmate moneys.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §62-11A-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


§62-11A-1. Release for work and other purposes by courts of record with criminal jurisdiction.

(1) (a) When a defendant is sentenced or committed for a term of one year or less by a court of record having criminal jurisdiction, such the court may in its order grant to such the defendant the privilege of leaving the jail during necessary and reasonable hours for any of the following purposes:
(a) (1) To work at his or her employment;
(b) (2) To seek employment;
(c) (3) To conduct his or her own business or to engage in other self-employment, including housekeeping and attending to the needs of his or her family;
(d) (4) To attend an educational institution;
(e) (5) To obtain medical treatment;
(f) (6) To devote time to any other purpose approved of or ordered by the court, including participation in the litter control program of the county unless the court specifically finds that this alternative service would be inappropriate.
(2) (b) Whenever an inmate who has been granted the privilege of leaving the jail under this section is not engaged in the activity for which such the leave is granted, he or she shall be confined in jail.
(3) (c) An inmate sentenced to ordinary confinement may petition the court at any time after sentence for the privilege of leaving jail under this section and may renew his or her petition in the discretion of the court. The court may withdraw the privilege at any time by order entered with or without notice.
(4) (d) If the inmate has been granted permission to leave the jail to seek or take employment, the court's probation officers or, if none, the jail shall assist him or her in obtaining suitable employment and in making certain that employment already obtained is suitable. Employment shall not be deemed suitable if the wages or working conditions or other circumstances present a danger of exploitation or of interference in a labor dispute in the establishment in which the inmate would be employed.
(5) If an inmate is employed for wages or salary, the clerk of the court shall collect the same or shall require the inmate to turn over his or her wages or salary in full when received, and shall deposit the same in a trust account and shall keep a ledger showing the status of the account of each inmate. Earnings levied upon pursuant to writ of attachment or execution or in other lawful manner shall be collected from the employer and shall not be collected hereunder, but when the clerk has requested transmittal of earnings prior to levy, such request shall have priority. When an employer transmits such earnings to the clerk pursuant to this subsection he or she shall have no liability to the inmate for such earnings. From such earnings the clerk shall pay the inmate's board and personal expenses inside the jail and shall deduct installments on fines, if any, and, to the extent directed by the court, shall pay the balance to the person designated by the inmate to receive the balance for the support of the inmate's dependents: Provided, That at least twenty-five percent of the earnings collected by the clerk on behalf of an inmate shall be paid to the person designated by the inmate as the person to receive funds being paid for the support of such inmate's dependents, if any. Any undistributed balance shall be paid to the inmate at the time of his or her discharge.
Except as specifically provided herein, nothing in this section may be construed to require the clerk to undertake disbursement and payment of an inmate's expenses, debts or bills.
(6) (e) An inmate who is serving his or her sentence pursuant to this section shall be eligible for a reduction of his or her term for good behavior and faithful performance of duties in the same manner as if he or she had served his or her term in ordinary confinement.
(7) (f) The court shall not make an order granting the privilege of leaving the institution under this section unless it is satisfied that there are adequate facilities for the administration of such privilege in the jail or other institution in which the defendant will be confined.
(8) (g) In every case wherein the defendant has been convicted of an offense, defined in section twelve, article eight, chapter sixty-one of this code or in article eight-b or eight-d of said chapter against a child, the defendant shall not live in the same residence as any minor child, nor exercise visitation with any minor child and shall have no contact with the victim of the offense: Provided, That the defendant may petition the court of the circuit wherein he or she was so convicted for a modification of this term and condition of this probation and the burden shall rest upon the defendant to demonstrate that a modification is in the best interest of the child.

(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to eliminate provisions that require circuit clerks to handle and disburse inmates moneys. This provision was necessary when the counties were responsible for housing inmates. All inmates are now housed in either a regional jail or a correctional facility so moneys belonging to inmates are handled by the appropriate jail and correctional personnel and not by circuit clerks.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.)

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