CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that inmates participating in work-release programs do not quality for workers’ compensation benefits.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the court unanimously affirmed a Workers’ Compensation Board of Review’s 2015 decision to not grant William F. Crawford workers’ compensation on Thursday. Crawford’s hand was severely injured in a wood chipper in 2013 while he was working on a road crew for the state Division of Highways.
Crawford had appealed the board’s decision, saying state law didn’t clarify coverage exclusion for work-release inmates. He also said his equal protection rights had been violated, arguing that inmates working for private businesses would receive the benefits.
The court ruled that the decision wasn’t a violation of equal protection, as Crawford was working on a volunteer basis.