Palmesano and Byrnes Come Out Against Prisoners Getting Pay Raises

June 5, 2019

ALBANY, NY – Statement From Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes:

Today in the Corrections Committee, Assembly Democrats voted to move forward Assembly Bill 8080. The bill would give inmates a wage increase of up to 1,566%, costing taxpayers $2.75 million and establish a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) every five years. The bill would raise inmates’ wages to $1.20 to $10 from the 60 cents most inmates make per day. Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia) vehemently opposes the measure.

“This bill would give prisoners up to a 1,566% pay increase, making them some of the highest paid criminals in the country and provide a cost-of-living adjustment every five years. It seems that you don’t have to leave the state to find financial relief, instead just be convicted of a crime,” said Byrnes. “Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and middle-class families are barely making ends meet, but Assembly Democrats are only concerned with the wages of convicted felons, rapists and murderers. With only 10 days left this session, these are not the priorities legislators should be focusing on.”

Statement From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“I was deeply disturbed today as I watched Democrats on the Correction Committee vote to raise taxes on New Yorkers who work hard and play by the rules to fund multi-million dollar pay raises and cost of living adjustments for violent inmates working in correctional facilities. It’s an insult to every hardworking parent who needs a raise, every family farmer struggling to keep their family tradition alive and every senior struggling to stay in their home. It’s yet another insult to crime victims. It’s yet another misplaced priority by Assembly Democrats.

“We won’t solve the rising violence and problems in our prisons by giftwrapping inmates iPads, taxpayer funded college degrees and higher wages. We’ll solve the problems in our prisons by keeping facilities open so we’re not double-bunking and double-celling dangerous inmates. We’ll solve the problems in our prisons when we let correction officers use proven disciplinary tools to keep them and other inmates safe. We’ll solve the problems in our prisons by promoting respect and discipline instead of handouts,” said Palmesano.