LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada prison inmates could be getting a raise.

Prisoners on fire crews and other work crews would make minimum wage in Nevada — or a “prevailing wage” under U.S. Department of Justice guidelines. It’s a change proposed in Senate Bill 187 (SB187), legislation introduced Wednesday in Carson City.

The proposal also establishes the “Offenders’ Release Fund” to hold accounts for each inmate. The offender would be paid the balance of the account on release from prison. The bill was sponsored by Democrat Dina Neal, who represents Nevada Senate District 4, covering parts of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

Nevada inmates are already paid, but a 2017 survey said their pay ranged from 25 cents an hour up to $5.15 an hour. Minimum wage is $10.50 in Nevada.

Provisions of SB187 set new priorities for deductions from prison wages:

  • Restitution for crime victim(s)
  • Obligations for family support such as child support
  • Payments to the new individual account for the offender

A maximum copayment of $3.47 for each medical care treatment is authorized from the inmate’s account.

SB187 also specifies some conditions for employment upon release, directing the Nevada Department of Corrections to place released inmates into positions that use the same skills they used while incarcerated.