AN ACT ESTABLISHING UNIFORM EDUCATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES.
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
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.