HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - 1,119 Alabama Department of Corrections inmates are working across Alabama unsupervised by the state during working hours.
They are part of the ADOC’s work release program, where eligible convicts nearing the end of their sentence are allowed to work in what a department spokesman called a “free world” setting.
The department transports the inmates from a minimum security facility to an employer in the area. At the end of the work day, the ADOC transports inmates back to the facility.
The program allows inmates to develop work skills and earn a salary, but also frees them from state supervision. Only the employer monitors the convict during working hours.
ADOC statistical reports state since October 2016, 29 inmates have walked off the job site.
Since October 2014, there have been 51.
Just Sunday, Gregory McCluskey walked off his job site near Mobile. He was serving a 15 year sentence for burglary that would have ended in August 2019.
The US Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested him Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida.
Madison County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Donny Shaw said surrounding law enforcement is notified if an inmate does not make it back to their minimum security facility after working hours are done.
He said such calls don’t get in the way of deputies responding to emergencies, but does come at the expense of low priority items.
“It might be we do not do a traffic detail or we do a patrol frequently, but we’ll go do that, spend the time that we need on it, and get back to those other things," he said.
ADOC spokesman Bob Horton said the department doesn’t have plans to assign any ADOC supervisors at the businesses where inmates work.
The work release program provides 2.4 percent of ADOC’s funding through inmate fees to participate in the program, roughly $11 million.
The ADOC’s 2017 Annual Report states work release inmates earn an average of $1,680.35 per month.
There are 10 minimum security facilities housing work release inmates in Alabama, including one in Decatur.
Warden Scarlotte Robinson of the Decatur facility declined to provide WAFF 48 News with the list of businesses that employ Decatur inmates.