Work release facilities serve as a bridge between life in prison and life in the community. Offenders at work release focus on transition, to include finding and retaining employment, re–connecting with family members, and becoming productive members of the community. They learn and refine social and living skills such as riding the bus, going to the grocery store, and managing their personal finances – all while under supervision. Work release is an opportunity for self–improvement, while assisting offenders in creating a safe and productive lifestyle that can be sustained upon release.
Value of Work Release Programs
Offenders who complete the work release program are more likely to be successful in maintaining employment, stable housing, and in paying legal financial obligations. Additionally, recent research conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy indicates that work release programs have a positive cost⁄benefit impact; in fact, for every dollar spent, $3.82 is returned to the state.
An offender with six months left to serve may be eligible to spend those last months in a work release facility, if specific criteria are met. For example, an offender must have a record of good behavior. Additionally, there must be available bed space at a work release facility.
Offenders in work release facilities must follow all program rules. They must search for and⁄or retain employment and will be monitored to ensure compliance. Frequent testing for substance abuse will be administered. Offenders may only leave the facility for work or other specific activities, such as appointments, treatment, shopping, or outings to visit family. Offenders must continue therapy, treatment, programming, and classes. Failure to abide by the rules may result in sanction and⁄or termination from the program.
Work Release Operations
Work release focuses offenders on finding gainful employment, treatment, family reunification, and life skill development.