31-254. Compensation for labor performed; price of prison made articles; distribution of earnings; workers' compensation

A. Each prisoner who is engaged in productive work in any state prison or institution under the jurisdiction of the department or a private prison under contract with the department as a part of the prison industries program shall receive for the prisoner's work the compensation that the director determines. The compensation shall be in accordance with a graduated schedule based on quantity and quality of work performed and skill required for its performance but shall not exceed one dollar fifty cents per hour unless the prisoner is employed in an Arizona correctional industries program pursuant to title 41, chapter 11, article 3. If the director enters into a contract pursuant to section 41-1624.01 with a private person, firm, corporation or association the director shall prescribe prisoner compensation of at least two dollars per hour. Compensation shall not be paid to prisoners for attendance at educational training or treatment programs, but compensation may be paid for work training programs.

B. Whenever a price is fixed for any article, material, supply or service to be produced, manufactured, supplied or performed in connection with the industries program of the department, the compensation paid to prisoners shall be included as an item of cost in fixing the price.

C. The compensation of prisoners shall be paid out of the fund established pursuant to section 41-1624 or out of funds appropriated for that purpose by the legislature when required.

D. If the compensation due a prisoner is less than two dollars per hour, mandatory deductions shall be taken for the following purposes in the order specified:

1. Twenty-five percent of the prisoner's gross wages until the prisoner's dedicated discharge account registers a one hundred dollar balance or, if the prisoner is serving a sentence of natural life, a fifty dollar balance.

2. If the prisoner initiates a lawsuit, twenty percent from all deposits to the prisoner's spendable account until the court fees are collected in full.

3. If the prisoner was not convicted of a violation of title 28, chapter 4, five percent of the prisoner's gross wages shall be used exclusively to fund the transition program established by section 31-281. All monies collected under this paragraph shall be deposited, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, in the transition program fund established by section 31-284.

4. Thirty percent of the prisoner's wages for court ordered dependent care.

E. If the compensation due a prisoner equals or exceeds two dollars per hour, the director shall credit to the prisoner's spendable account established pursuant to section 31-230 an amount equaling fifty cents per hour for each hour compensation is due plus ten percent of the adjusted balance remaining after the mandatory deductions are taken. Mandatory deductions shall be taken for the following purposes in the order specified:

1. Twenty-five percent of the prisoner's gross wages until the prisoner's dedicated discharge account registers a one hundred dollar balance or, if the prisoner is serving a sentence of natural life, a fifty dollar balance.

2. If the prisoner initiates a lawsuit, twenty percent from all deposits to the prisoner's spendable account until the court costs are collected in full.

3. If the prisoner was not convicted of a violation of title 28, chapter 4, five percent of the prisoner's gross wages to fund the transition program established by section 31-281. All monies collected under this paragraph shall be deposited, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, in the transition program fund established by section 31-284.

4. Thirty percent of the prisoner's wages for the room and board costs of maintaining the prisoner at the facility.

5. Thirty percent of the prisoner's wages for court ordered dependent care.

F. After the mandatory deductions and obligations are paid by the prisoner, the remaining monies shall be credited to the prisoner's retention account established by the director pursuant to section 31-261, subsection B.

G. A prisoner may gain access to the prisoner's trust fund or retention account for emergency purposes at the sole discretion of the director.

H. Any monies not expended from the contributing prisoner's trust fund or retention account for the purposes prescribed in subsection E of this section shall be paid to the prisoner on release pursuant to section 31-228.

I. If any prisoner escapes, the director shall determine what portion of the prisoner's earnings shall be forfeited, and the forfeited amount shall be deposited in the special services fund established by section 41-1604.03.

J. This section is not intended to restore, in whole or in part, the civil rights of any prisoner. A prisoner who is compensated under this section shall not be considered to be an employee of or employed by this state, the department or any private person, firm, corporation or association engaged in a contract pursuant to section 41-1624.01, and the prisoner does not come within any of the provisions of the workers' compensation provided in title 23, chapter 6 and is not entitled to any benefits under title 23, chapter 6 whether on behalf of the prisoner or of any other person. This subsection does not apply to prisoners who are employed pursuant to a federally certified prison industry enhancement program established pursuant to section 41-1674.