31-251. Hard labor required of prisoners; labor classification; definition

A. The director has the authority to require that each able-bodied prisoner under commitment to the state department of corrections engage in hard labor for not less than forty hours per week, except that not more than twenty hours per week of participation in an educational, training or treatment program may be substituted for an equivalent number of hours of hard labor as prescribed by the director of the state department of corrections. The director may require retention of earnings for the purposes authorized by section 31-254.

B. The director shall establish a prisoner labor classification system to insure that:

1. A prisoner receives work assignments commensurate and compatible with the condition and limitations of his physical and mental health.

2. No prisoner participates in a work assignment that threatens the safety or security of the public, the correctional institution or the prisoner.

3. Each prisoner is generally assessed for skills related to the construction and maintenance of prison facilities.

4. Each prisoner who does not present a risk to the public and who is not limited by his physical or mental health may be assigned to a work crew.

C. Each prisoner committed to the department shall be classified pursuant to the prisoner labor classification system established by the director. The director or his designee shall review and approve each classification of a prisoner that results in exempting the prisoner from engaging in the hard labor requirements of subsection A of this section.

D. In this article, "hard labor" means compulsory physical activity for the attainment of some object other than recreation or amusement but does not include physical activity that is not within the ability of an individual prisoner.

E. Notwithstanding any other law, no prisoner given a work assignment or required to perform any labor by the state department of corrections shall be considered an employee or to be employed by the state or the state department of corrections, regardless of whether the prisoner is compensated or not, nor shall an employee-employer relationship exist between the prisoner and the state department of corrections or the state for any purpose and none of the rights or privileges otherwise accorded to employees by law shall accrue to such prisoners.