Prison Labor Does Not Violate Prevailing Wage

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

The Sheriff of Hamilton County used voluntary prison labor to paint the jail. Taxpayers and the Painter's Union argued that the use of prison labor on the county's behalf violated Ohio's Prevailing Wage statute which provides that it applies to a public authority undertaking work "with its own forces."

The Hamilton County Court of Appeals disagreed and ruled that the prison labor was permissible because it did not constitute work by the county's "own forces."

In this case, the Court of Appeals also held that the elimination of $5000 worth of specified paint and its replacement with less expensive paint (after the bid) on this $127,000 contract did not constitute a material alteration of the bid justifying an injunction. State ex rel. Jones v. Bd. of Commrs. (1997), 124 Ohio App. 3d 184.