October 20, 2017

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BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR WORK RELEASE IN FLORIDA

Work Release is defined by the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) as a program that allows selected inmates to work at paid employment in the community during the last months of their confinement. There are 30 Work Release Centers (WRC) in Florida and an inmate must meet the established criteria in order to be considered for placement. The inmate must be in the custody of FDOC for at least 60 days, must remain disciplinary report free (see article on the DR process) for 60 days and be classified as community custody. Sex offenders are not eligible for work release. There are no perimeter fences and inmates must return to the Work Release Center when they are not working or attending programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Work Release provides gradual reintegration back into the community, gainful employment and an accumulation of savings from paid employment. Inmates must be within 3 years of their tentative release date to be eligible for work release and their earnings are allocated as follows:

Subsistence 55%
Court payments/Restitution 10%
Family assistance 10%
Inmate’s savings account 10%
Incidentals $100 per week
All remaining funds are deposited into inmate’s savings account

There are no perimeter fences at the WRCs and inmates must remain there when they are not working or attending programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. More than 3,000 inmates participate in Florida’s work release programs annually, with about 3% of the prison population enrolled at any given time.

Goodwill sponsors several work release programs in the SunCoast that accommodate both males and females. These programs are funded by the FDOC and by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Participants in these programs live at the Goodwill facility for three to nine months while working at least 35 hours per week. The Goodwill transitional programs offer psychological, educational and employment support and have been proven to be more effective in assisting former offenders to become upstanding, self-sufficient citizens than the alternative of releasing them directly from incarceration into the community.

References:
Florida Department of Corrections (www.dc.state.fl.us)
Goodwill Industries-Suncoast, Inc.

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