Section 45-8-232.20Rehabilitation board; rules and regulations; inmate wages; escape from custody; work release program requests; annual report.
(a) This section shall apply to Calhoun County.
(b) The following words shall have the following meanings:
(1) BOARD. The Calhoun County Rehabilitation Board, which shall be composed of the sheriff who shall act as chair; the district attorney; the senior circuit judge; the senior district judge; and a fifth person to be selected by the Calhoun County Commission.
(2) INMATE. Any person convicted of a crime and sentenced to the county jail or state prison.
(c)(1) The board shall adopt written procedures of operation and administration and shall elect one of its members as chair on an annual basis. Meetings shall generally be conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order.
(2) Any rules, regulations, or policies promulgated by the board shall be written upon the minutes of the board, and shall be acknowledged and signed by each member of the board a minimum of 30 days before the rules, regulations, or policies can be implemented or utilized for any prisoner pursuant to this section.
(3) Inmates shall participate in paid employment at the discretion of the board.
(d) The board shall adopt written regulations and policies permitting the sheriff to extend the limits of the place of confinement of an inmate, if there is reasonable cause to believe his or her suitability, by authorizing him or her under prescribed conditions to leave the confines of the county jail unaccompanied by a custodial agent for a prescribed period of time to work at paid employment while continuing as an inmate in the jail in which he or she shall be confined except during the hours of his or her employment and transportation to and from the place of employment.
(e)(1) The employer of an inmate involved in work release shall pay the wages of the inmate to the board or an agent designated by the board to administer the accounting and disposition of the wages of the inmate. This designation will be renewed annually or can be terminated by agreement of the board and the employer. The disposition of the net wages of the inmate shall be in the following amounts and priority:
a. Thirty percent shall be withheld for the costs of the confinement of the inmate and paid to the sheriff monthly. The sheriff may use these funds to pay any costs associated with the administration and operation of the jail including, but not limited to, salaries for necessary staff, equipment, and administrative costs for purposes of this section.
b. That amount ordered by the circuit or juvenile or district court to be paid for child support shall be paid monthly to the appropriate court or agency.
c. An amount as ordered by the circuit or district court to be paid monthly to the clerk of the court for court costs, fines, restitution, and other costs up to 25 percent of the net wages of the inmate.
d. An amount as agreed to in writing by the inmate to be paid monthly to the family of the inmate.
e. Any remaining amount each month will be deposited in the Calhoun County Jail Inmate Trust Fund, to be paid to the inmate for his or her personal use as prescribed by jail rules or held until the inmate's release.
(2) Any legal encumbrances upon the wages of the inmate may preclude participation of the inmate in this program.
(f) The willful failure of an inmate to remain within the extended limits of his or her confinement or to return within the time prescribed by the sheriff to the county jail shall be deemed as an escape from the custody of the sheriff and shall be punishable as provided by law for escaped prisoners.
(g) The board, its employees, or an agency designated by the board are authorized to make investigations and recommendations pertaining to the validity of requests by inmates to be considered for this work release program. The agency initially designated shall be the Calhoun County Community Punishment and Corrections Authority, Inc. This designation shall be renewed annually or may be terminated by agreement of the board or both parties. The investigations shall include, but not be limited to, actual employment of the inmate, reliability of transportation to and from work, knowledge by the employer of the status of the inmate, the agreement of the employer to send the inmate's pay checks to the agency, and the inmate's signed agreement to abide by the conditions governing his or her participation in the program. A nonrefundable investigation application fee of fifty dollars ($50) shall be paid to the designated agent by the inmate in applying for this program. This fee may be changed at the discretion of the board.
(h) A primary consideration for inmates to participate in this program is that they already have a source of employment. However, the board may endeavor to secure employment for eligible inmates under this section subject to the following:
(1) Wages shall be at least as high as the prevailing wage for similar work in the area.
(2) The employment shall not result in displacement of currently employed workers.
(3) Inmates eligible for work release shall not be employed as strike breakers or in impairment of any existing contracts.
(4) Exploitation of eligible inmates in any form is prohibited.
(i) No inmate granted privileges pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be an agent, employee, or involuntary servant of the board, state, county, or municipality while working in the community or while going to and from employment or other specified areas, or while on furlough.
(j) The sheriff shall prepare an annual report to be filed not later than 60 days from the close of each fiscal year, a copy of the report shall be filed with each of the following persons or agencies: The board, the governing bodies to which this section applies, and to the circuit and district judges serving Calhoun County. This report shall include, but not be limited to, the prior year activities including number of inmates participating in the program, monies earned and disposition thereof, general effectiveness of the program, and any recommendation for the activities of the current year and other pertinent information. Supporting documentation for this report will be supplied to the sheriff by the organization making investigations or background checks for work release within 30 days of the end of the fiscal year.
(Act 96-690, p. 1157, §§1-10.)