Can I Go To Work During My Jail Term?

July 21, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Criminal Court, DUI

There are many crimes in Arizona that result in a person serving a term of jail.  A term of jail can devastate a person’s career.  However, there are two programs that will allow a person to continue working while a person is serving a term of jail.  Furthermore, these programs DO NOT extend the time a person spends in custody.

Under both the Work Furlough and Work Release programs, a person may continue working and fulfill the requirements of their sentence.  In felony cases, the courts primarily permit the Work Furlough program.  In misdemeanor cases, the courts primarily use the Work Release program.  In some misdemeanor cases, the courts may also allow the home detention program.  Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the Work Furlough program.

What is the Work Furlough program?

When a person is sentenced to a term of jail, it may be possible for that person to be released to allow the person to continue working.  Inmates accepted into the Work Furlough program are permitted to participate in work outside of the jail at their places of employment.  However, the Work Furlough program has more restrictions than the Work Release program.

How do I get Into the Work Furlough program?

There are two ways by which a person may be accepted into the Work Furlough program: (1) by court order; and (2) by the programs’ screening and approval process.  The first step in the Work Furlough program is to participate in a Work Furlough orientation (held Monday through Friday).  After going through the initial orientation, inmates are given anywhere from four (4) to eight (8) hours to go home and collect some of their clothing (see below for further information), get the initial $125.00 Work Furlough payment money order, and to have the “letter of understanding” signed by their employer.  The inmate then returns to the jail facility and has their release hours set by a Work Furlough officer.    

Where does the jail house Work Furlough inmates? 

Inmates who are selected and approved for this program are housed in a separate area of the jail facility (in Maricopa County it is “Tents”).  Inmates who are approved for and participate in this program are allowed to wear their own clothing and are not “dressed out” in jail attire while they are completing their incarceration term.

What is the cost to participate in Work Furlough?

The Work Furlough program costs the inmate’s hourly wage plus $3.00 per day (7 days per week).  For example, an individual making $12.00 per hour would pay $15.00 per day for a total of $105.00 per week to participate in the Work Furlough program.  All earnings must be submitted to the Work Furlough program, and all Work Furlough fees will be deducted from the inmate’s earning, with the balance being returned to the inmate. 

How many days per week can an inmate work?

An inmate can work a maximum of six (6) days per week, and their release hours cannot exceed twelve (12) hours per day (including travel time).  D.U.I. offenders are limited to a maximum of only five (5) days per week out of the jail.  In addition, all inmates participating in the Work Furlough program must work a minimum of thirty-two (32) hours per week.   

What can Work Furlough inmates have with them in the jail?

Per the Work Furlough handbook, the following items are permissible:

-Prescription eyeglasses

-1 jacket or sweater (no hood)

-1 plastic flashlight (C size max)

-1 watch

-1 wedding ring

-1 wallet (DL or ID)

-1 paperback book or magazine

-1 non electric clock

-Prescription medication (to be dispensed by the jail)

-5 sets of clothes

-2 pair of shoes (plus an additional pair of “shower shoes”)

-2 towels

-$40.00 in cash

What types of clothing are not permitted for Work Furlough inmates?

Sleeveless shirts, tube tops, tank tops, low cut shorts, bathing suits, shirts that expose the stomach, clothing with unacceptable language or gang affiliations printed on it, see through clothing, flip flops, sandals, and steel-toed boots are all not permitted.

What about personal hygiene items?

All personal hygiene items (shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. must be purchased from the jail vending machines.

Am I allowed to go home during my work hours?

No.  When you are admitted to the Work Furlough program, you agree to travel only between your place of employment and the jail, unless you are specifically authorized to do otherwise by a Work Furlough officer.  If you are dismissed early from work, on any day, you are to page your surveillance officer and inform them of this and then return immediately to the jail.  You are not allowed to go home, or to the residence of family, friends, or employers for any reason. 

Is there anything a person about to serve a term in jail must do to qualify for the Work Furlough program?

Yes.  Prior to serving a jail term, a person must successfully complete a health screening and bring the completed health screening form with them when they begin their term of incarceration. A health screening is generally required for both the Work Furlough and the Work Release program (however, shorter terms of incarceration may not require the screening in the Work Release program).  The process requires a person to go to a healthcare provider (usually a family doctor) and have them do a TB test.  The provider must also complete the healthcare screening form that states the results of the test and that the person is healthy enough to serve the term of jail.  If a person is taken into custody without this form, then the jail will either not allow them to enter the Work Furlough program or put off the person’s participation in the program until the jail’s own healthcare providers can screen them.  This process could easily take weeks.  Thus, it is essential for a person to complete the healthcare screening and bring the completed form with them when they are taken into custody.

Do the rules of the Work Furlough program ever change?

Yes.  The jail can alter their rules, regulations and costs at anytime and without notice.  The above information is merely an example of the guidelines in place at the time of this writing and may not apply to a particular case.  When someone is about to serve a term of jail, they should contact the jail and the Work Furlough program to confirm what rules and costs are in place at that time.

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