If a judge sentenced you to prison for any length of time, you may worry about your ability to reintegrate back into society. This is particularly true if your prison term was lengthy.
Fortunately, the justice system recognizes that removing individuals for any length of time from the civilian world can put them at a severe disadvantage upon their release. To help ease the transition, many systems now offer work release. Washington state is one such system.
Washington State work release
According to the Department of Corrections Washington State, lawmakers devised the work release program to serve as a bridge between life in prison and life back in the real world. If you qualify for work release, you will spend you last six months to a year in jail focusing on the transition. Some things you will do to help ease it include finding and retaining employment, undergoing necessary treatment, developing life skills, reconnecting with friends and loved ones, and learning and refining skills. Essentially, work release serves as an opportunity for you to improve yourself and to develop the tools you need to create and maintain a safe and productive lifestyle post-release.
Eligibility requirements for work release
Washington State prefers for incarcerated individuals to participate in a work release program for at least 12 months prior to their earned release date. However, it may make an exception for you if you have six months left on your sentence and if you can meet certain eligibility requirements. Examples of such requirements are as follows:
- You reside in the “Minimum 1” custody level
- You have a record of good behavior
- The work release facility has bed space available
If you qualify for work release, you must adhere to all program rules. This includes searching and retaining employment, abstaining from any and all substance abuse, agreeing to frequent chemical testing, and continuing all recommended classes, therapy, programs and treatment. You must also agree to only leave the work release facility for specific activities, including work and therapy. If you break any of the rules, you risk losing your right to participate in the work release program.
If you are interested in participating in work release, make your wishes known to your family and/or attorney. The sooner you express interest, the sooner you can begin to take steps to qualify.