NCRA 1998 conference correctional recreation regulations session
Laws, Amendments & Proposals
Effecting Correctional Recreation
31th Annual NCRA Conference Oklahoma City OK
March 4th - 6th, 1998
Presented by Gary & Lora Polson
Strength Tech, Inc.
- Introduce Us
Gary has masters degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Physical Education from Oklahoma State University. He is a licensed professional engineer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He invented and patented the Okie Grip barbell collar and was the 1985 State Super-heavy Powerlifting Champion in Oklahoma.
He and his wife, Lora, operate Strength Tech where they manufacture and distribute institutional weight lifting accessories. Gary became involved with correctional weightlifting after contacting Rick McIntosh, FCI El Reno, in 1986. Rick encouraged Strength Tech to exhibit at the national NCRA conference in Oklahoma City in 87 and Strength Tech has made every conference since then except one. Gary lifted in and judged some of the meets at FCI El Reno. He and Lora have toured several correctional recreation systems around the country with their business and during NCRA conference tours. In September 1995 Gary established an internet web site www.strengthtech.com which continues to be the major source for information about weightlifting in prisons. This presentation is coming directly from that web site.
At the recent olympics you saw everyone saying konichiwa, here in Oklahoma we just say howdy. We are very pleased to welcome many of you to our fine state and hope you enjoy its great hospitality during your visit.
- Introduce the topic, "Laws, Amendments & Proposals Effecting Correctional Recreation"
We will focus primarily on weightlifting, but most laws regulating weightlifting also regulate other recreational activities.
- First two paragraphs of The Great Dumbell Theft
- NCRA Position Statement
- List of Issues
- Federal Regulations
- The Zimmer Amendment originated the current federal situation. The amendment was changed greatly before it was finally adopted and then it only covered one specific appropriation. But now it is reasonably entrenched in annual budget legislation.
- Our current budget has a similar restriction
- The BOP has prepared a question and answer document to answer specific questions about the Zimmer Amendment. This document is still being used. It is an internal BOP document, it is not a law.
- Several other bills have been in committee since early 1997. In February 98 Gary visited with James Turpin, legislative liaison, for the American Correctional Association and Darlene Veltrie with the BOP Recreation Dept (she has spoken at this conference before) and both expect a stable situation in federal prison weightlifting for the near future. They do not expect the bills in committee to pass and do not foresee major changes from the present stance.
Mr.Turpin mention SB3 by Senator Hatch is a huge bill that contains encryption, PLRA, and many other things. He thinks it was more of a posturing statement than an attempt to pass all this legislation. We recently visited with Senator Hatch's office and were told, "not a lot of things happening with it, no hearings scheduled, if nothing happens by the end of the year it dies."
- State Regulations
- States making recent legislative changes
- "Weight Lifting in Corrections: Luxury or Necessity?" ACA Article Nov. 1997
- The article
- Our Attempts to get the ACA to correct the article
- How to find the prison laws for your state
- See what we have
- Washburn State Law Links
- Full Text State Statutes
- Existing Research
We recently encountered a few references you may not be familiar with. A few of them are not even available yet.
- Sam Houston State University surveyed more than 800 prison
wardens, superintendents and commissioners in 1996 about the
usefulness of amenities in prisons. This reference is in the "Jails Rough Road or Easy Street? Amenities Important, Prison Officials Say" article. We bolded the reference.
- Gene Ellebre, of Bill Glass Prison Ministry cites research in the The Great Dumbell Theft article. We bolded the reference.
- We understand a major article is to be printed in the Atlanta Constitution Journal in early March.
- The Corrections Connection web site runs "The Corrections Think Tank" where topics are debated weekly. The 1/19/98 topic was, "Should free weights and weightlifting equipment be available to inmates? What are the alternatives?
- The California DOC held a hearing on removing weightlifting equipment 23 Feb 1998. The hearing was recorded, is being transcribed, and copies will be available from Regulation and Policy Management Branch.
- The state of Louisiana failed to pass a bill banning lifting, but did pass a resolution requiring the Dept. of Public Safety and Corrections to consider elimination of all powerlifting competitions and limiting the amount of weights and weightlifting equipment available to inmates. They are to file a written report of their study with the Louisiana legislature and it will be in the public domain.
- The Florida Department of Corrections recently conducted a study on public perception of corrections and correctional activities (including recreation). Some of their results were printed in the February 1998 issue of Corrections Today (Pages 26-28, 79) titled, "What Does the Pubic Really Think About Corrections". A copy of their research is on their web site. The Inmate Work and Unstructured Time Page deals with recreational issues. We also archived a copy of that page.
- What can be done to assure the continued existence of activities, equipment, staff, and funding to do our jobs?
- Encourage research in correctional recreation. The research need to be part of an overall plan to gather data to justify decisions in correctional recreation. The NCRA could help organize this by establishing specific areas research is needed in.
- Create a database of existing research for others to build upon.
- Monitor, assist, and critique items printed about correctional recreation to make sure the public gets the full picture. The recent ACA On the Line Article is a good example. The public has been misled.
- Determine the public perception of correctional recreation. Continued efforts in the area of the Florida study mentioned in our research section.
- Our How to Take Action Page
- Plea for help in sending us information
- Currently, inmates are our greatest resource. We receive many more tips from them and their families about proposed legislation and regulations than from NCRA members. Please let us know when you hear something happening in your area.
- We have printed cards with the site address and how to contact us. You can pick them up when you leave if you are interested.
- Thank You
- Thanks for allowing us to share this information, especially at such a prime time in the conference.
- Also, a big thanks to the many people who responded to our questions as we tried to put this presentation together.
- Questions, Answers, and Discussion Time
- Anybody aware of any states considering legislation that we did not list?
- Any recent incidents of use of weightlifting equipment as weapons?
- Has the federal "upper body" focus had some impact? Are the lifters safer, better, etc.
- Does lifting seem to be as big of an issue as it was last year?
- How are the feds adapting to the electronic instrument changes? Has it been smooth?
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