Rabb announces legislation to establish Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced that he is drafting legislation to establish the Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund.

“It is our duty as legislators to secure fair treatment for all Pennsylvanians — regardless of circumstance,” Rabb said. “We must act with compassion and ensure that justice-involved individuals receive the rehabilitation and resources necessary to successfully reenter their communities.”

This legislation, H.B. 1649, would address the issue of Inmate Welfare Fund funds being used to purchase materials that correctional facilities should already have budgeted for. It would require state and local correctional facilities to establish an Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund, which would require the money from commissary purchases, telephone and internet services, and labor by incarcerated individuals be placed in the fund to be used solely for the benefit, education and welfare of individuals incarcerated in state or county facilities. 

It would also require a yearly audit of each fund to ensure it is being used for its intended purpose.

“Advocating for incarcerated individuals is one of my biggest priorities as a state legislator,” said state Rep. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, a co-sponsor on the legislation. “I will continue to champion any and all efforts that provide them with opportunities to start their lives anew and succeed upon their release.”

The bill was referred to the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee where Rabb is serving his third term as a member.