Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Prison Industries.


§ 24–231.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Bureau of Justice Assistance Private Sector Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program”, or “PIE Program”, means the federal grant-in-aid program administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, United States Department of Justice, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3741-3761, and participation in which by the states or the District of Columbia affords an exemption from the general federal prohibition against open market sale of prisoner-produced goods, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1761(c).

(2) “Correctional facility” means any building or group of buildings and concomitant services operated as a single management unit by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections for the purpose of housing and providing services to persons ordered confined pending trial or upon conviction and sentencing for a violation of law.

(3) “Department” means the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.

(4) “Director” means the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.

(5) “Joint venture” means a production unit in or part of a prison industry, that:

(A) Employs sentenced prisoners;

(B) Is wholly or partly owned, operated, or managed by a joint venture partner that is a private-sector employer; and

(C) Sells goods or services in the open market, including in interstate and foreign commerce, or to the federal government, the District of Columbia, or any state or political subdivision of a state.

(6) “Prison industries” means an organized plan, including equipment and facilities, for the production and distribution of goods or services on the grounds of a correctional facility to aid disciplinary and rehabilitative goals of the prison system.

(7) “Prison Industries Fund” means the revolving fund established by § 24-231.02.

(8) “Prisoner” means any person who is confined to an adult correctional facility.

(9) “Private-sector employer” means:

(A) Any person who, for compensation, uses the services of an individual; and

(B) Any administrator, agent, assignee, conservator, executor, liquidator, officer, receiver, trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, or other representative of a person described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(10) “Substance abuse” means any pattern of pathological use of alcohol or other drug that causes impairment in social or occupational functioning, or that produces physiological dependency as evidenced by physical tolerance or by physical symptoms when it is withdrawn.

(11) “Washington, D.C., region” means the geographic area that encompasses the District of Columbia and adjacent portions of the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 2, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-1503 and § 51-101.

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 19 of D.C. Law 11-117 provided that, in accordance with subchapter I of Chapter 15 of Title 1, the Mayor shall issue rules to implement this subchapter.


§ 24–231.02. Establishment of Prison Industries Fund.

(a) There is hereby established in the Treasury a revolving fund to be known as the Prison Industries Fund (“Fund”). The Fund shall be used to receive and disburse funds from appropriations, income from operations, fees, gifts by devise or bequest, donations, grants, investments, and revenue from any and all sources pursuant to this subchapter.

(b) Revenue deposited into the Fund is specifically designated to be expended by the Department for the administration, improvement, and maintenance of property and programs managed by the Department and shall supplement and not replace services provided by the Department. The Fund shall not provide funding to any other District government agencies.

(c) Proceeds of the Fund may be invested in a prudent and reasonable manner consistent with applicable District government policies and procedures with recommendations from the Prison Industries Joint Venture Advisory Board established by § 24-231.07 [repealed].

(d) The Fund shall be continuing. Revenues deposited into the Fund shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of any fiscal year or at any other time but shall be continually available to the Department for the uses and purposes set forth in this subchapter, subject to authorization by Congress in an appropriations act.

(e) The Fund shall be available without fiscal-year limitation and shall be used by the Mayor to maintain the District of Columbia’s prison industries program in accordance with this subchapter. The accounting for the Fund shall be maintained on the accrual basis, including provision for employees’ accrued annual leave and depreciation of fixed assets, and financial reports shall be prepared on the basis of such accounting.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 3, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.2.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-231.01 and § 24-231.15.


§ 24–231.03. Use of Fund revenues.

Receipts from the sales of goods and services produced by the prison industries program shall be deposited to the credit of the Fund. The Fund shall be used for all necessary expenses directly related to the Fund, including personal services; payments to inmates, or payments to their dependents in accordance with this subchapter; purchase, repair, and maintenance of equipment; purchase of raw materials and supplies; payment of dues and expenses of attendance at meetings and conventions, as approved by the Mayor; maintenance and repair of buildings used for Fund purposes; alteration of existing facilities used for Fund purposes; and, within the limits of amounts provided in annual appropriation acts, acquisition and improvement of real property.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 4, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.3.


§ 24–231.04. Maintenance of the prison industries program; administration by the Director.

(a) The Mayor shall maintain a prison industries program which shall be administered by the Director and which shall provide for the operation of commercial, manufacturing, sales, and service enterprises that are located on the grounds of a correctional facility and that employs prisoners. The prison industries program shall be comprised of 2 components, designated as the government-enterprise component and the joint-venture component.

(b) The government-enterprise component shall be comprised of prison industry operations that are owned, managed, and operated as an entity of the Department. This component shall neither be subject to the prevailing wage requirements set forth in § 24-231.10 nor the workers’ compensation requirements set forth in § 24-231.12(a), except that any prison industry within this component that seeks and receives approval under the PIE Program shall be subject to the requirements of §§ 24-231.10(a) and 24-231.12(a). Government-enterprise component operations are authorized to produce, offer for sale, and sell goods and services to agencies of the District and to any other legally-eligible purchaser. Upon recommendation by the Director and by the Prison Industries Joint Venture Advisory Board established by § 24-231.07 [repealed], the Mayor may require any government-enterprise component prison industry to comply with the federal requirements for the purpose of applying for federal government approval under the PIE Program to offer for sale and sell goods and services in interstate commerce and to the federal government.

(c) The joint-venture component shall be comprised of prison industry operations that are jointly owned, managed, and operated by the Department and its joint-venture partners in accordance with § 24-231.05 and other applicable federal and District laws. Except as otherwise provided by § 24-231.05, joint-venture component prison industries shall be organized and operated with the intent of complying with all necessary requirements to qualify for approval under the PIE Program to offer for sale and to sell goods and services in interstate commerce.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 5, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.4.


§ 24–231.05. Sales, advertising and marketing of prison industries products and services; tax exemption.

(a) Whenever goods or services scheduled for purchase by an agency of the District government are produced or can be produced by a prison industry, the agency shall purchase the goods or services from the prison industries unless the Director provides written certification that:

(1) A prison industry cannot provide the goods or services on the terms and conditions required by the agency; or

(2) The agency has been quoted a price below the market price.

(b) In addition to the agencies of the District government, goods and services produced by prison industries may be sold to:

(1) Any department or agency of any other state, city, county, or territory of the United States;

(2) Any department or agency of the federal government;

(3) Any not-for-profit organization, upon the enactment by Congress of an amendment to 18 U.S.C. § 1761(b), to authorize prison industry sales to not-for-profit organizations; and

(4) Open-market purchasers, in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 1761(c).

(c) The Mayor may develop and implement an on-going advertising and marketing plan to sell goods and services produced by prison industries to authorized purchasers. This advertising and marketing plan shall include:

(1) Regular publication and distribution to authorized purchasers of a catalog and price list for goods and services produced by prison industries;

(2) Procedures for responding to invitations for bids or requests for proposals issued by any governmental unit that is an authorized purchaser; and

(3) Procedures for use of advertising materials, speaking engagements, direct-mail marketing, telemarketing, director contacts by salespersons, and other marketing techniques to inform authorized purchasers about the availability, prices, and quality of goods or services that are produced or can be produced by the prison industries.

(d) Subject to the approval of the Council, by act, the Mayor may include in the terms of a prison industry joint venture agreement an exemption from applicable District taxes, or other tax incentives, when the Mayor determines this is necessary to secure a private-sector employer’s participation.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 6, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.5.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-231.04.


§ 24–231.06. Joint venture agreements.

(a) The Mayor is authorized to enter into an agreement with any private-sector employer to establish a joint venture for the management and operation of all or any part of a prison industry.

(b) The terms of a joint venture agreement shall include:

(1) Area space requirements, equipment, security services, and utilities;

(2) Procedures for the selection of prisoners for employment; and

(3) A commitment by the private-sector employer to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend the District, its agents, officers, and employees against any and all claims or liability of any kind arising from, based on, or resulting from any act, default, or omission of the private-sector employer under the agreement.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 7, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.6.


§ 24–231.07. Prison Industries Joint Venture Advisory Board. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 8, 43 DCR 1179; Apr. 29, 1998, D.C. Law 12-86, § 401(h), 45 DCR 1172.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.7.


§ 24–231.08. Employment of prisoners; terms and conditions; opportunities for advancement; qualifications.

(a) A prison industry shall employ eligible prisoners in all entry-level positions to the extent feasible.

(b) Prisoners employed in a prison industry shall not work more than 40 hours per week, except that prisoners may volunteer to work overtime hours for overtime payment at 1 1/2 times the normal hourly wage when necessary to meet a prison industry’s production needs.

(c) For positions requiring an advanced level of skills or experience and for supervisory positions, a prison industry may employ nonprisoner personnel if the prison industry staff responsible for reviewing the qualifications of eligible prisoner job applicants:

(1) Demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Director that no eligible prisoner job applicant currently is qualified for the position; and

(2) Develop a plan satisfactory to the Director for training prisoners employed in entry-level positions, the goal of which is to enable prisoners to attain an advanced level of skills or experience for supervisory positions within a specific time.

(d) Subject to the approval of the Director, each prison industry shall develop and provide the following, in writing, to all prisoner employees and job applicants:

(1) Job descriptions;

(2) Schedule of hours of work;

(3) Wage schedule and procedures for recording hours worked and making payment of wages earned in accordance with § 24-231.11;

(4) Work place rules of safety and conduct;

(5) Description of the factors to be considered and the procedures to be followed in evaluating employee performance, making promotions, and granting wage increases;

(6) Description of training to be provided on the job; and

(7) Description of disciplinary action that may be taken in the event that an employed prisoner violates workplace rules of safety and conduct or otherwise fails or neglects to perform job responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.

(e) The items described in subsection (d) of this section shall be discussed orally with prisoner job applicants. Each applicant, as a condition of employment, shall sign a statement affirming that he or she:

(1) Understands and agrees to abide by the workplace rules of safety and conduct;

(2) Will perform job responsibilities in a satisfactory manner; and

(3) Is acting voluntarily and is not under any condition of duress.

(f) To qualify as eligible for available employment in a prison industry, a prisoner shall:

(1) Complete the application on forms to be provided by the prison industry;

(2) Undergo a medical examination and substance abuse screening, which shall be provided by the Department;

(3) Not be determined by the Director to be ineligible for employment due to physical or mental incapacity, substance abuse, confinement in administrative or disciplinary segregation, or other relevant circumstance; and

(4) Sign the statement required by subsection (e) of this section.

(g) Each prisoner may receive educational good time credit for participating in the prison industries program pursuant to § 24-221.01.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 9, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.8.


§ 24–231.09. Status of prisoners with respect to prison industries.

Prisoners who apply and are eligible for employment in a prison industry shall have no right to obtain employment in the industry. Prisoners employed in a prison industry shall not be regarded as having any right concerning that employment, shall not be regarded as District employees or employees of a private-sector employer, and shall not be regarded as having any rights or privileges accorded to District government employees or employees of a private-sector employer other than those expressly set forth in this subchapter.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 10, 43 DCR 1179; May 22, 1998, D.C. Law 12-114, § 4, 45 DCR 486.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.9.


§ 24–231.10. Wages of employed prisoners; unemployment compensation.

(a) All prisoners employed by a prison industry shall be paid wages which shall be established by the Director and approved by the Mayor. All prisoners employed by a prison industry that is approved under the PIE Program shall be paid no less than the prevailing wage for work of a similar nature in the Washington, D.C., region as determined by the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services.

(b) Nothing in this section or elsewhere in this subchapter may be construed to create a private right, enforceable by an employed prisoner, to any wages established in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Employment by a prison industry shall not entitle any prisoner to the benefits authorized by Chapter 1 of Title 51, unless the prisoner is employed in a prison industry approved under the PIE Program. In the latter case, the prisoner shall not be qualified to receive any payments for unemployment compensation while incarcerated.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 11, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.10.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-231.04.


§ 24–231.11. Disbursement of wages to employed prisoners; deductions; accounting.

(a) Wages paid to prisoners employed by a prison industry shall be considered taxable income for purposes of subchapter I of Chapter 18 of Title 47.

(b) Wages paid to prisoners employed by a prison industry wholly owned and operated by the District shall be paid from the Fund. Wages paid to prisoners employed by a prison industry operated pursuant to a prison industry joint venture agreement shall be paid by each private-sector employer who is a party to the agreement.

(c) Wages due each prisoner employed in a prison industry shall be disbursed according to a schedule of deductions which, after withholding District, federal, and state income taxes, shall be established by the Director.

(d) Except in the case of a prisoner employed in a prison industry approved under a PIE Program, the total amount deducted under subsection (c) of this section, including taxes withheld, shall not exceed 80% of gross wages and may include the following:

(1) Reasonable charges paid to the District for room and board;

(2) Contributions to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund in accordance with § 4-544 [repealed];

(3) Allocations for the support of the prisoner’s family pursuant to statute, court order, or agreement;

(4) Payment of any civil judgment resulting from the prisoner’s criminal conduct; and

(5) Payment of restitution or fines ordered by the sentencing court.

(e) In the case of a prisoner employed in a prison industry approved under the PIE Program, the total amount deducted under subsection (c) of this section, including taxes withheld, shall not exceed 80% of gross wages and may include the following:

(1) Reasonable charges imposed by the District for room and board;

(2) Contributions to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund in accordance with § 4-544 [repealed], but only if the amount of the contributions is not less than 5% or more than 20% of the prisoner’s gross wages; and

(3) Allocations for the support of the prisoner’s family pursuant to statute court order or agreement.

(f) The remaining 20% of the wage payment shall be available to the prisoner for the purchase of commissary items for personal use and for deposit in a personal account established for each prisoner by the Department.

(g) The Director shall establish procedures to provide each prisoner employed in a prison industry with a regular accounting showing gross wages earned, amount deducted in each category of deductions, and the amount credited to the prisoner’s personal account maintained by the Department. All wages credited to the prisoner’s personal account shall be made available to the prisoner at the time of release. The prisoner may draw upon funds in his or her personal account for any legal purpose consistent with Department rules.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 12, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.11.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-231.08.


§ 24–231.12. Workers’ compensation insurance.

(a) The requirements of Chapter 15 of Title 32 shall apply to prisoners employed in any prison industries program that is approved under the PIE Program. Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring Workers’ Compensation Act or comparable insurance benefits for prisoners employed in a prison industry that is not federally approved under that program.

(b) The Director or the parties to a prison industry joint venture agreement may purchase insurance to protect against the risk of loss, theft, or damage of finished or unfinished products produced by a prison industry wherever these products, equipment, materials, and supplies are located while in the possession of the Department or a prison industry, in transit to or from the possession of the Department or a correctional industry, or in storage. The cost of the insurance shall be paid from the Fund if such payment is authorized by Congress in an appropriations act.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 13, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.12.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-231.04.


§ 24–231.13. Annual report; annual inventory.

(a) The Director shall provide the Mayor and the Council with an annual report on the prison industries program and the Fund no later than December 1 of each year for the fiscal year ending September 30 of the preceding year.

(b) The report shall be prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles and shall include:

(1) A description of each prison industry, including the terms of any prison industry joint venture agreements establishing the industry, the quantities of goods and services produced, and an itemized accounting of purchasers, sales, and receipts;

(2) The number of prisoners employed in each prison industries program;

(3) A profit-and-loss statement;

(4) Production costs, including overhead, purchase of materials and supplies, capital expenditures, and wages paid to prisoner employees and nonprisoner employees;

(5) The average length of time between the District government’s receipt of orders and purchasers’ receipt of the goods and services ordered; and

(6) The average length of time between purchasers’ receipt of goods and services ordered and the Fund’s receipt of payment.

(c) The Department shall prepare an annual inventory listing prison industries program equipment and materials on hand at the beginning and end of each fiscal year.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 14, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.13.


§ 24–231.14. Disposition of profits.

The Mayor is authorized to retain any accumulated profits from a prison industries program for the purpose of acquiring or improving personal property, or to increase working capital to planned operating levels in a prison industries program. The Mayor is also authorized to retain accumulated profits from a prison industries program for payments to inmates employed in a prison industries program as well as to other inmates.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 15, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.14.


§ 24–231.15. Transfer of assets.

All assets which, on May 8, 1996, are components of the Correctional Industries Fund, as created by § 24-271 [repealed], shall be transferred to the Fund created in § 24-231.02.


(May 8, 1996, D.C. Law 11-117, § 16, 43 DCR 1179.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 24-458.15.

Cross References

Unemployment compensation, eligibility, see § 51-109.

Editor's Notes

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 19 of D.C. Law 11-117 provided that, in accordance with subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, the Mayor shall issue rules to implement this subchapter.