WORK RELEASE FROM JAIL
Colorado Jail Work Release
Colorado County jails and Detention Facilities often have alternative sentencing programs, like Work Release, which are administered by the Sheriff’s Department running the jail. A Work Release sentence is particularly important in this age when finding a job is difficult, and where the loss of a job can result in the loss of a home, car or family support.
Work Release is Approved, not Ordered
Work Release must first be granted / approved by a judge. Generally, we see judges giving permission for Work Release at sentencing, but they do not order it. Judges in Colorado counties like Arapahoe County, Denver County and Jefferson County like to stay out of the day to day running of the jail / detention facility. Only when a circumstance rises to a level of great importance, will judges intervene and issue an Order to the jail. For example, this intervention might occur when an inmate’s health or safety becomes critical. Jails are notorious for providing only minimal medical care, so persons with a special medical condition might need a lawyer’s intervention if the jail refuses to supply adequate medicine or medical treatment.
Work Release Specifics in a Colorado County Jail
Work Release in Adams County Jail / Detention Facility, Boulder County Jail and Broomfield County Jail permits an inmate to leave the jail daily to go to work, and then return to the jail at the end of the day. Usually, there is a special unit at the jail which houses these inmates. Before starting this program, the sheriff will need to ensure that the inmate qualifies under local rules for Work Release. For example, we have seen some jails, like the Douglas County Jail / Detention Facility, say that no one with a sex offense or crime of violence in their history is permitted Work Release (even if a judge has authorized it). So, a ten year old previous case might disqualify a DUI inmate from the program.
There is a substantial cost for Work Release. County jails and detention facilities use these fees to defray costs associated with running the jail. It does not surprise us when a jail charges $30 per day for Work Release, and they will want a week’s worth of payment up front. Since Work Release is a privilege, sheriffs can get away with charging money.
A jail / detention facility will also want to verify that the inmate has a qualified job, in advance of starting Work Release. Self employed inmates, those with jobs involving travel, and those with inconsistent working hours, will be less likely to gain approval for Work Release. We highly recommend that people thinking of serving a Work Release sentence contact the jail’s Work Release unit long before sentencing, so they can understand and meet conditions of Work Release. Otherwise, the inmate will have to sit in jail until money is obtained, proof of employment is verified, or other conditions are met. Planning ahead can make the difference between keeping a job and losing a job due to incarceration for a few days while paperwork is finalized.
Strict Conditions of Work Release
Conditions of Work Release can be strict. We have seen clients of ours lose Work Release because they stopped to see someone on the way to or from work, went through a drive-through for food, or returned to the jail / detention facility late. In some cases, inmates have failed to return overnight and are charged with Escape, C.R.S. 18-8-208. Even a short unauthorized absence from jail can result in Escape charges. Another charge might be given for Introduction of Contraband, C.R.S. 18-8-203, based on trying to bring unauthorized items back into the jail.
If you need help with your criminal case by getting the District Attorney, Judge, or Sheriff’s Department to authorize Work Release, contact the experienced lawyers at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC to intervene on your behalf. You can reach us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.