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Prison inmates have jobs that pay minimal wages they can use to buy personal care items and save for their release. It’s a beneficial program, but advocates say they should earn more.

House Bill 2556 would set the minimum at $3 an hour. While many Arizonans will say that prisoners have forfeited the right to a minimum wage, many of those inmates are working for 20 to 40 cents an hour. Some of those are paying restitution while having to buy personal items, and they can be released after years with virtually no savings.

This bill is worth discussion about its merits and how it would be funded. Part of corrections is allowing inmates a chance to start a new, successful life, because most eventually are released into society. Perhaps they should have an inmate minimum wage, which of course would be well below the one earned outside the walls.

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