Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. There shall be developed and implemented a functional literacy program for individuals incarcerated in the jails and houses of correction of the commonwealth. There shall be a committee consisting of seven members to be appointed by the governor, four of whom shall be representatives of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association, one of whom shall be appointed as chairman, one of whom shall be a representative of the department of youth services, one of whom shall be a representative of the department of education, and one of whom shall be a member of the parole board. Said committee shall convene to create a uniform educational curriculum for the jails and houses of correction in the commonwealth. All members of said committee shall serve without compensation and shall be appointed within thirty days of the effective date of this act.
SECTION 2. Said committee, established in section one, shall develop a functional literacy program for individuals testing below a selected grade level, which shall at least be an eighth grade reading level. The program shall include guidelines for implementation and test administration, participation requirements, and criteria for satisfactory completion.
For the purposes of this section, the term "functional literacy" shall mean those educational skills necessary to function independently in society, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, comprehension and arithmetic computation.
SECTION 3. Every person sentenced to a house of correction shall be administered a standardized test of adult basic education or other standardized tests approved by the department of education to assess the reading equivalency level of the individual. Individuals testing below a selected grade level shall be required to participate in the functional literacy program for a minimum period of ninety days or until such time as the committee deems sufficient for satisfactory completion. The results of such test shall be included in the individual's educational record. Said educational record shall be kept at the correctional facility housing the individual and shall contain a record of participation or refusal to participate in all programs under the provisions of this act at any facility.
SECTION 4. Any individual who has been incarcerated in a jail for at least thirty days shall be offered the opportunity to take the test and participate in the functional literacy program. The results of the individual's participation shall be included in his educational record and applied toward completion of the program as provided for in section three.
SECTION 5. The sheriff or superintendent in charge of the correctional facility or other place of confinement shall submit the individual's educational record to the parole board pursuant to section one hundred and thirty-five of chapter one hundred and twenty-seven of the General Laws for use in considering the individual's eligibility for parole.
SECTION 6. All costs incurred in each jail or house of correction as a result of any of the provisions of this act shall be paid from the general fund of such facility which is expended for the general welfare of all the inmates, at the discretion of the superintendent of such facility.