Reference Number: 
CTAS-1439

Officials having responsibility for the custody and safekeeping of defendants may promulgate and enforce reasonable disciplinary rules and procedures requiring all able-bodied inmates to participate in work programs. Such rules and procedures may provide appropriate punishments for inmates who refuse to work, including, but not limited to, increasing the amount of time the defendant must serve in confinement or changing the conditions of the defendant's confinement, or both. Any such increase in the amount of time a defendant must serve for refusing to participate in a work program shall not exceed the sentence originally imposed by the court. T.C.A. § 40-35-317(b).

The legislature has clearly stated its intent to require able-bodied inmates to participate in work programs. Under T.C.A. § 40-35-317(b), officials in charge of county jails or workhouses may promulgate and enforce disciplinary rules requiring such work and punishing inmates refusing to work. Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. No. 83-363 (August 15, 1983).

Pursuant to T.C.A. § 41-2-147(a), the sheriff or workhouse superintendent having responsibility for the custody of any person sentenced to a local workhouse pursuant to the provisions of T.C.A. § 40-35-302 (misdemeanor sentence), T.C.A. § 40-35-306 (split confinement), T.C.A. § 40-35-307 (probation coupled with periodic confinement) or  T.C.A. § 40-35-314 (felon confined in local jail) shall, when such person has become eligible for work-related programs pursuant to such sections, be authorized to permit the person to perform any of the duties set out in T.C.A. § 41-2-123 or T.C.A. § 41-2-146.