72.09.450  <<  72.09.460 >>   72.09.465

Inmate participation in education and work programsAssociate degree education opportunitiesLegislative intentPrioritiesRulesPayment of costs.

(1) Recognizing that there is a positive correlation between education opportunities and reduced recidivism, it is the intent of the legislature to offer appropriate associate degree opportunities to inmates designed to prepare the inmate to enter the workforce.
(2) The legislature intends that all inmates be required to participate in department-approved education programs, work programs, or both, unless exempted as specifically provided in this section. Eligible inmates who refuse to participate in available education or work programs available at no charge to the inmates shall lose privileges according to the system established under RCW 72.09.130. Eligible inmates who are required to contribute financially to an education or work program and refuse to contribute shall be placed in another work program. Refusal to contribute shall not result in a loss of privileges.
(3) The legislature recognizes more inmates may agree to participate in education and work programs than are available. The department must make every effort to achieve maximum public benefit by placing inmates in available and appropriate education and work programs.
(4)(a) The department shall, to the extent possible and considering all available funds, prioritize its resources to meet the following goals for inmates in the order listed:
(i) Achievement of basic academic skills through obtaining a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate as provided in RCW 28B.50.536;
(ii) Achievement of vocational skills necessary for purposes of work programs and for an inmate to qualify for work upon release;
(iii) Additional work and education programs necessary for compliance with an offender's individual reentry plan under RCW 72.09.270; and
(iv) Other appropriate vocational, work, or education programs that are not necessary for compliance with an offender's individual reentry plan under RCW 72.09.270 including associate degree education programs.
(b) If programming is provided pursuant to (a)(i) through (iii) of this subsection, the department shall pay the cost of such programming, including but not limited to books, materials, and supplies.
(c) If programming is provided pursuant to (a)(iv) of this subsection, inmates shall be required to pay all or a portion of the costs, including books, fees, and tuition, for participation in any vocational, work, or education program as provided in department policies. Department policies shall include a formula for determining how much an offender shall be required to pay. The formula shall include steps which correlate to an offender average monthly income or average available balance in a personal inmate savings account and which are correlated to a prorated portion or percent of the per credit fee for tuition, books, or other ancillary costs. The formula shall be reviewed every two years. A third party may pay directly to the department all or a portion of costs and tuition for any programming provided pursuant to (a)(iv) of this subsection on behalf of an inmate. Such payments shall not be subject to any of the deductions as provided in this chapter.
(d) The department may accept any and all donations and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and services from any third party, including but not limited to nonprofit entities, and may receive, utilize, and dispose of same to complete the purposes of this section.
(e) Any funds collected by the department under (c) and (d) of this subsection and subsections (9) and (10) of this section shall be used solely for the creation, maintenance, or expansion of inmate educational and vocational programs.
(5) The department shall provide access to a program of education to all offenders who are under the age of eighteen and who have not met high school graduation requirements or requirements to earn a high school equivalency certificate as provided in RCW 28B.50.536 in accordance with chapter 28A.193 RCW. The program of education established by the department and education provider under RCW 28A.193.020 for offenders under the age of eighteen must provide each offender a choice of curriculum that will assist the inmate in achieving a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate. The program of education may include but not be limited to basic education, prevocational training, work ethic skills, conflict resolution counseling, substance abuse intervention, and anger management counseling. The curriculum may balance these and other rehabilitation, work, and training components.
(6)(a) In addition to the policies set forth in this section, the department shall consider the following factors in establishing criteria for assessing the inclusion of education and work programs in an inmate's individual reentry plan and in placing inmates in education and work programs:
(i) An inmate's release date and custody level. An inmate shall not be precluded from participating in an education or work program solely on the basis of his or her release date, except that inmates with a release date of more than one hundred twenty months in the future shall not comprise more than ten percent of inmates participating in a new class I correctional industry not in existence on June 10, 2004;
(ii) An inmate's education history and basic academic skills;
(iii) An inmate's work history and vocational or work skills;
(iv) An inmate's economic circumstances, including but not limited to an inmate's family support obligations; and
(v) Where applicable, an inmate's prior performance in department-approved education or work programs;
(b) The department shall establish, and periodically review, inmate behavior standards and program goals for all education and work programs. Inmates shall be notified of applicable behavior standards and program goals prior to placement in an education or work program and shall be removed from the education or work program if they consistently fail to meet the standards or goals.
(7) Eligible inmates who refuse to participate in available education or work programs available at no charge to the inmates shall lose privileges according to the system established under RCW 72.09.130. Eligible inmates who are required to contribute financially to an education or work program and refuse to contribute shall be placed in another work program. Refusal to contribute shall not result in a loss of privileges.
(8) The department shall establish, by rule, objective medical standards to determine when an inmate is physically or mentally unable to participate in available education or work programs. When the department determines an inmate is permanently unable to participate in any available education or work program due to a health condition, the inmate is exempt from the requirement under subsection (2) of this section. When the department determines an inmate is temporarily unable to participate in an education or work program due to a medical condition, the inmate is exempt from the requirement of subsection (2) of this section for the period of time he or she is temporarily disabled. The department shall periodically review the medical condition of all inmates with temporary disabilities to ensure the earliest possible entry or reentry by inmates into available programming.
(9) The department shall establish policies requiring an offender to pay all or a portion of the costs and tuition for any vocational training or postsecondary education program if the offender previously abandoned coursework related to associate degree education or vocational training without excuse as defined in rule by the department. Department policies shall include a formula for determining how much an offender shall be required to pay. The formula shall include steps which correlate to an offender average monthly income or average available balance in a personal inmate savings account and which are correlated to a prorated portion or percent of the per credit fee for tuition, books, or other ancillary costs. The formula shall be reviewed every two years. A third party may pay directly to the department all or a portion of costs and tuition for any program on behalf of an inmate under this subsection. Such payments shall not be subject to any of the deductions as provided in this chapter.
(10) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, an inmate sentenced to life without the possibility of release, sentenced to death under chapter 10.95 RCW, or subject to the provisions of 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1227:
(a) Shall not be required to participate in education programming except as may be necessary for the maintenance of discipline and security;
(b) May not participate in an associate degree education program offered by the department or its contracted providers;
(c) May participate in prevocational or vocational training that may be necessary to participate in a work program;
(d) Shall be subject to the applicable provisions of this chapter relating to inmate financial responsibility for programming.

NOTES:

FindingsIntent2017 c 120: See note following RCW 28B.50.815.
FindingsIntent2007 c 483: "Research and practice show that long-term success in helping offenders prepare for economic self-sufficiency requires strategies that address their education and employment needs. Recent research suggests that a solid academic foundation and employment- and career-focused programs can be cost-effective in reducing the likelihood of reoffense. To this end, the legislature intends that the state strive to provide every inmate with basic academic skills as well as educational and vocational training designed to meet the assessed needs of the offender.
Nonetheless, it is vital that offenders engaged in educational or vocational training contribute to their own success. An offender should financially contribute to his or her education, particularly postsecondary educational pursuits. The legislature intends to provide more flexibility for offenders in obtaining postsecondary education by allowing third parties to make contributions to the offender's education without mandatory deductions. In developing the loan program, the department is encouraged to adopt rules and standards similar to those that apply to students in noninstitutional settings for issues such as applying for a loan, maintaining accountability, and accruing interest on the loan obligation." [ 2007 c 483 § 401.]
Findings2007 c 483: See RCW 72.78.005.
Effective date1998 c 244 § 10: "Section 10 of this act takes effect September 1, 1998." [ 1998 c 244 § 18.]
FindingEvaluationReport1997 c 338: See note following RCW 13.40.0357.
SeverabilityEffective dates1997 c 338: See notes following RCW 5.60.060.
FindingsPurposeShort titleSeverabilityEffective date1995 1st sp.s. c 19: See notes following RCW 72.09.450.
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