Understanding the Florida DOC’s work release program
In recognition of the fact that many incarcerated people would perhaps be better served by doing something besides spending all of their days and nights behind bars, the Florida Department of Corrections has long had a Community Release Program in place.
While there are multiple facets to this Community Release Program, the one that is frequently the subject of inquiries by both inmates and their loved ones is work release. In today’s post, the first in a series, we’ll take a closer look at this important alternative to incarceration.
In general, work release enables qualifying inmates near the end of their sentences to leave the custody of the DOC to work in paying positions and return upon completion of their shifts.
While some might question the rationale or perhaps even the wisdom of work release, consider some of the reasons offered by the DOC for its existence.
- It enables inmates to gradually reintegrate into society
- It reduces the rates of recidivism
- It preserves ties to both family members and the community
- It ensures gainful employment is in place upon release
- It provides inmates with savings and, by extension, a more solid financial foundation upon release
Regarding this last point, the DOC has regulations in place dictating that the wages earned by an inmate on work release must be divided accordingly:
- 55 percent is subsistence at all work release facilities
- 10 percent goes to family assistance, including child support, etc.
- 10 percent goes to court ordered payments, fines, restitution, etc.
- 10 percent goes into a savings account
- Up to $100 per week is directed to cover an inmate’s other personal incidentals
- The rest is deposited into a general account
We’ll continue this discussion in our next post, exploring who is — and isn’t — eligible for work release, and the penalties for those who walk off a work release program.
If you have been charged with any sort of felony or misdemeanor, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can explain the law, outline your options and protect your future.