FBOP Guidelines For Conforming to the Zimmer Amendment


The FBOP approached conformance with the Zimmer Amendment by producing a document titled, "Questions and Concerns Regarding the Implementation of the Zimmer Amendment". The document has 3 major sections:

  1. Viewing of R, X, or NC-17 Movies
  2. Instruction or Training for Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, or Other Martial Arts or any Body Building or Weightlifting Equipment
  3. Electronic and Electric Instruments
We reproduced Section B below. One point brought out repeatedly in the document is to not replace equipment that produces "upper body" strength. I certainly understand that upper body strength can be used to harm another person, but I have not seen legislation focusing on that issue. At the 1997 NCRA Conference, two sessions focused on the Zimmer Amendment and related bills. The "upper body" strength focus of this document showed through in the confusion of many at the conference. A number of laws, plus this document had attendees confused about what rule came from where. This is an internal FBOP document. It is not a law. It is a procedure established to follow the intent of the Zimmer Amendment which they left in place after the amendment ran its course. Currently, the Oct 1, 1997 to Sept 30, 1998 budget bill HR 2267 is in effect and contains a provision similar to the Zimmer amendment


Instruction or Training for Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, or Other Martial Arts or any Body Building or Weightlifting Equipment

  1. What items are allowed in replacing weightlifting equipment and are there any cost restrictions?
    1. Chin up bar
      No. (Upper body conditioning)

    2. Lift bar (lat pull bar)
      No. (Upper body conditioning)

    3. Partner facilitated resistance (isometric exercises)
      No. (Even thought this does not involve equipment, it does enhance upper body strength)

    4. Big thick rubber bands or bull workers
      No. (Upper body conditioning)

    5. Push up bar
      No. (Upper body conditioning)

    6. Trail fitness stations or Par fit courses
      Yes. (Stations must not include equipment for upper body conditioning).

    7. Roman chair
      Yes. (Works stomach muscles)

    8. Health Rider, exercise rider, or equivalent
      Yes.

    9. Stair climber
      Yes.

    10. Rowers
      Yes.

    11. Exercise bicycles
      Yes.

    12. Heavy bags/speed bags
      No. (Boxing related activity)

    13. Ergo equipment
      No.

    14. Exercise wheel or ab cruncher
      Yes.

  2. How can we be supportive of "wellness" if all upper body development is prohibited?
    We will try to be as supportive of as many health promotion and disease prevention activities as possible without violating the intent of Zimmer.

  3. How can the development of exercise prescriptions under the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention program statement be met under Zimmer? (policy conflict)
    See answer to question 2.

    1. May cables be replaced on otherwise operational (and sometimes costly) weightlifting and related exercise equipment?
      No.

    2. May we replace cables on weight machines for safety reasons?
      No.

    3. May bushings to weight equipment be purchased and replaced?
      No.

    4. May stock cable be used for repairs?
      No.

  4. May protective covers for weight training machines be installed if it is identified as a safety concern?
    Yes.

    1. May weight benches be tacked (spot welded)?
      No, minor repair to weight benches are allowable provided the nature of the repair has been approved by the Safety Manager.

    2. May weight benches be recovered?
      Yes.

  5. What is your definition of in-house repairs for weightlifting equipment?
    Repairs to weightlifting equipment, regardless of how minimal are not allowed. In-house minor repairs may be made of weightlifting benches, mats and weightlifting belts provided that the expenses are minimal and the repairs are performed only so as to ensure that the use of existing equipment is conducted in a manner which is safe and prevents injury.

  6. May replacement parts purchased prior to Fiscal Year 1996 be used to repair weightlifting equipment?
    No, replacement parts purchased prior to the Fiscal Year 1996 would still require the use of staff salaries for replacement and installation of parts; therefore, parts should be returned for credit or refund.

  7. If equipment cannot be repaired, what should the institution do with the otherwise usable equipment?
    Institutions should follow property management procedures with property declared as excess. The central Office Education Branch will research if equipment requiring minor repairs may be donated to nonprofit organizations.

    1. May exercise equipment with basic electronic displays (e.g., those that display calories burned, distance, time) be purchased?
      Yes.

    2. Although equipment with more sophisticated computer components may not be used, may the equipment be used if the components are removed?
      Yes.

    3. What other specific enhancements are allowed or disallowed?
      Basic guidance was provided in the November 15, 1995, Guidelines for the implementation of the ZImmer Amendment memorandum from Director Hawk. Institution staff should use good judgement in these matters.

  8. Will traditionally held weightlifting competitions, such as the Northeast powerlifting competition, be allowed?
    No.

  9. May inmates buy weight belts?
    Yes.

  10. Will there be a consistent bureau-wide removal of weight equipment?
    Not at this time. Most institutions will slowly phase out weight equipment when in becomes inoperable.

  11. Will there be any special funding available for alternative equipment?
    Not at the present time. Most institutions will use money formerly spent on weightlifting equipment. Institutions may use Trust Fund Or ITS money.

    1. If inmates are breaking free weights and equipment at a steady rate, does an institution have the local discretion to remove the equipment and provide a replacement?
      Inoperable equipment should be removed and replaced with alternate equipment. Generally institutions should not remove equipment in good condition unless there are special circumstances, e.g., disturbance or incident where the equipment was used as a weapon.

    2. Are pool tables considered an appropriate replacement?
      Yes, unless pool tables were removed after an incident where pool cues were used as weapons.

  12. If our equipment has already been removed and placed in rented storage, what established procedures are there to donate the resources to the community.
    See the answer to question 9.

    1. Weight areas occupied a large number of inmates. To occupy equivalent numbers, may we return to the use of outside entertainment (competitions with community based teams, musical entertainment, etc.)?
      Yes, if these activities will not pose a security issue or create public perception problems because of the costs or publicity involved.

    2. May we obligate funds to these efforts?
      Yes.

  13. How should we handle inmates who fabricate equipment to perform exercises?
    If there is destruction of government property, an incident report should be written.

  14. Often, basic cable (ESPN) and public television have programs which provide instruction in weightlifting and upper body development. Are such programs considered restricted? Should we limit inmate access to such programs?
    It would be difficult to restrict such shows. To try to restrict such programs is going beyond the intent of Zimmer.


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