Dear Director Frakes:
I am writing on behalf of the over 300 people, almost all of HU1 at TSCI, who signed the petition # 2019-880. We requested that NDCS incorporate a 25% raise in the daily stipend payed to incarcerated workers into the next biennium budget proposal that will be filed in Sept. 2020.
Both the step one and step two responses were that “it would be out of the Department’s control as to whether or not the legislature would approve of this pay increase” but that does not answer our request that you include it in your next budget. In order for the legislature to even consider the option, you would have to first include it in your budget request. Even the Inspector General of Corrections when asked about increasing the stipend said in a letter dated Jan. 21, 2019 that “this is an issue I have raised in the past and it is dependent on NDCS to request an appropriation from the Legislature to do this.” We are asking you, once again, to include it in the next biennium budget that you will submit in Sept. of 2020.
Here is a summary of why a 25% increase in daily stipends for incarcerated workers is in order. First, there has not been a change to the daily stipend in over 25 years. According to Edward Jasso, Policy and Accreditation Coordinator, the last change to the rates in 113.17 was in Dec. of 1993. Since then the Consumer Price Index has increased by 75% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic. So while canteen prices have been increasing our daily stipends have not. Addtionally, as of last year OTC medications are no longer available through medical. Instead we have the added expense of purchasing them through canteen out of our daily stipend. A 25% increase is significantly below the CPI increase and may barely cover the additional expense of OTC meds.
Please incorporate a 25% raise in the daily stipend payed to incarcerated workers into the next biennium budget proposal on Sept. 2020.
Thank you for your time and attention,