STATE TRAINING SCHOOL INMATES WORKING IN STATE PARKS FOR PAY.
Permissible to employ selected boys from Training School to state park development at nominal pay.
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July 24, 1950
Honorable Van R. Hinkle
Supervisor of Public Institutions
Olympia, Washington Cite as: AGO 49-51 No. 308
This is in answer to your letter of June 16, 1950, in which you request our answer to the following questions:
1. May selected boys from the State Training School be taken to state parks for employment in park development and for outdoor recreation?
2. May such boys be paid for their work by the park commission?
Our conclusions are as follows:
1. Inmates of the training school may be permitted to engage in a work and recreational program in state parks.
2. There are no legal obstacles to paying the boys for work done.
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You state that it is desired to institute a program in which selected boys from the State Training School at Chehalis, will spend a period of time in state park areas, working for one‑half of each day under the direction of park authorities and engaging in recreation directed by a training school counselor during the rest of the day. Food and shelter are to be furnished by the park authorities and it is desired to pay each boy fifty cents a day for his labor.
We have no hesitation in stating that the proposed plan is permissible under section 19, page 276, Laws of 1890 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 4630) which sets out the curriculum of the training school as follows:
"All the branches taught in the public schools of the state shall be taught in the state training school, and the inmates shall be taught and trained in morality, temperance, and frugality, and they shall also be instructed in the different trades and callings of the two sexes, as far as possible in the scope of the institutions."
The contemplated work of trail building and clearing land would be both instructive and healthful.
We can think of no reason, legal or otherwise, why organized outdoor recreation should not be afforded training school boys. The value of such activities in promoting health, sportsmanship and character development is universally recognized.
There is no statutory law regarding pay for training school boys for work done during their off duty hours. Again, however, we believe that affording the boys an opportunity to earn money is entirely consistent with the purposes of the State Training School. It will be noted that section 4630, supra, specifically provides that the boys shall be trained in frugality.
The Park Commission has ample authority to employ the boys to work in parks, furnish food and shelter, and to pay them.
Section 1, chapter 148, Laws of 1929 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 10942) reads in part as follows:
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"The state parks committee shall have power:
"(1) To have the care, charge, control and supervision of all parks and parkways heretofore or hereafter acquired or set aside by the state for park or parkway purposes.
"* * *
"(4 1/2) To clear, drain, grade, seed and otherwise improve and/or beautify any parks and parkways, and to erect structures, buildings, fireplaces, comfort stations and build and maintain paths, trails, and roadways through and/or on parks and parkways.
"* * *
"(6) To employ such assistance as it may deem necessary."
From the above, it is clear that there is no legal impediment to your plan as outlined. It may be that other legal problems will arise in working out the details, if so, this office will be glad to help in any way possible.
Very truly yours,
JAMES M. MORRIS
Assistant Attorney General