[JURIST] New York voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday amending the state constitution [text] to allow the state legislature to pass a law permitting prisoners to work with non-profit organizations on a voluntary basis. Prisoners previously participated in work programs with non-profit organizations, but a 2005 opinion issued by the Commission of Correction [official website] indicated that the practice might be unconstitutional. Prisoners are currently permitted to work for municipal governments on a voluntary basis. The ballot measure passed [NYT report] 67.6 percent to 32.4 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting.
The Department of Correctional Services [official website] as well as prisoner advocacy groups were in favor [AP report] of the measure. Chairman of the State Assembly's Correction Committee [official website] Jeffrion Aubrey said the ballot measure would help rehabilitate prisoners and reintegrate them into society. In order for the measure to appear on the ballot [NYT report], it had to be approved by both houses of the state legislature in two consecutive legislative terms.