Bill would lower prison pay for sex offenders
A New Jersey lawmaker wants to decrease the amount of pay some sex offenders receive while in custody.
Convicted pedophiles who still pose a threat to society after they complete their prison terms remain in custody in New Jersey as civilly committed sex offenders. They are housed separately from the general convict population and are given prison jobs like other convicts.
But they are making a lot more money than other prisoners.
"Civilly committed, sexually violent predators are being paid the minimum wage - right now $8.38 an hour while all of our general population of state inmates receives on average $2.33 per day," said Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Jackson).
A new bill introduced by Dancer would require the state to lower compensation rate of civilly committed, sexually violent predators to same level as state inmates for institutional work.
In December, the state auditor issued a report which recommended the change in pay.
Dancer said the pay change could save taxpayers $1.9 million per year.
"These sexual offenders are not law abiding citizens and in my opinion they should not receive the same minimum wage as law abiding citizens," Dancer said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that prisoners do not fall under the National Fair Labor Standards Act and are not entitled to minimum wages.
"With the civilly committed sex offenders being paid the minimum hourly wage, there are really two victims that we're talking about here," Dancer said. "Number one is the children who were sexually assaulted, but the second victim is the New Jersey taxpayers who are being financially molested by this disparity in pay."