Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reviewing work release program after inmate escape

Deputies reevaluating work release program after escaped inmate was found dead
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Deputies with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office are re-evaluating criteria for its inmate work release program amid a string of inmate escapes.

The work release program allows inmates to work jobs for businesses outside of jail to collect income. Inmates work during a set schedule away from heavy supervision.

Morgan County Public Information Officer Mike Swafford said the program is a positive for inmates.

“Basically it’s one: earn an income,” he said.” And two: sometimes they can learn a skill. Sometimes when they are released, they end up at the job they were working already.”

Swafford said many inmates have payments to make on the outside.

“Several of them have child support that they have to meet, and they use that in order to satisfy whatever they need for child support,” Swafford said.

Swafford said inmates have to meet strict criteria to work out of jail. No violent offenders can leave jail, and inmates have to gain the trust of jail staff.

Swafford said the work release program is an incentive to have more trustworthy inmates.

“To have people to have an opportunity once they’re released from jail, that’s a positive,” he said. “For them to possibly go right into that with a job, that’s a positive. It helps them not come back, and that’s what we want.”