October 13, 2014
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A Pensacola News Journal Editorial
Published October 13, 2014
For the entire story, visit: http://www.pnj.com/story/opinion/editorials/2014/10/13/editorial-work-release-works/17152671/
Though two inmates decided to go on the lam from a state work-release program recently, we still see the value of having a transitional program to help the convicts as their sentences wind down.
The inmates need to be able to start the change from incarceration to life after prison. It's fool-hardy to think they can go from being an inmate one day to productive citizen the next. Without work release and other rehabilitation, the inmates are likely to land behind bars in a few weeks or months. ...Giving them a hand is far better than handcuffs. In a conservative, law-and-order area, work release should be applauded. It keeps the inmate population manageable and helps men and women see the benefit of following the law and rules of society.
Also, while on work release, they are earning a paycheck. For those who are supporting a family, that money can help to keep the family together and off the public dole, a goal any fiscal conservative would applaud.
Offering a work-release program also presents an incentive for inmates to behave themselves and stay in line. It also can be a goal for which inmates strive. There is far too much to lose by walking away from work release.
The state has an excellent track record of capturing the escapees. It's simply not worth the effort nor the price an escapee will pay for walking away.
"This is a great opportunity for them to do well and show responsibility and have a successful re-entry," Lewis said.
If the goal of corrections is to be more than punishment, giving inmates a chance to get some training and to get ready for the "real world," is worth the few missteps along the way.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.