Jail Media

Jail Media Properties

Jail Cell Block
A Typical Cell Block

Work Release

If you've been convicted of a crime and have been granted work release, you are very lucky. This means you will have the opportunity to leave work every day and go work at a job, going back to the jail at nights (or sometimes just for the weekends).

How common is work release?
Being granted work release is a privilege, and it's not one that most inmates are granted. Basically the judge is allowing you to leave jail every day and go to your job - since getting a job after a release from jail can be very difficult, this is a huge advantage. It is rare for your existing supplier to do a thorough background check (but that is really common for a new employer).

You should find out all the terms that you have to comply with in order to stay on work release to make sure that you don't mess up and lose this opportunity. A lot of people who are in work release programs are happier and, more importantly, less likely to reoffend.

What are some common work release rules?
Every jail is going to have a different set of rules, but there are some rules that are very common. First of all, you will probably have to check in with the jail over the phone when you get to work. Also, the jail will send guards out to check on employees at their place of business. This does require that you disclose to your manager that you are incarcerated - usually, though, the jail will try not to make a big deal out of these surprise visits - they don't want you to lose your job either.

In many areas you are required to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of being in the work release program. This may cost several hundred dollars, but in the long run it is a small price to pay compared with regular incarceration where you will have no income.

Since many inmates in work release programs have been convicted of drug charges you will probably be subjected to UA's, or "urine analysis," randomly when you come back to the jail. If you fail a UA you are usually sent to general population and can pick up additional charges - don't use drugs if you are in a work release program.