Guidelines for Work Release Programs

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The state's share of the cost imposed on local governments by the work release program as instituted by T.C.A. § 41-2-132 are funded by the increase in state taxes apportioned by law to cities and counties that are not specifically earmarked for a particular purpose.  T.C.A. § 41-2-133(c).

Jurisdiction of Sentencing Court

The sentencing court has no authority to grant a furlough to a defendant pursuant to the authority of T.C.A. § 40-35-316(a) for the purpose of allowing a defendant to work unless the defendant is held to and meets all of the eligibility and supervision requirements, testing standards and other criteria imposed by or pursuant to state law. T.C.A. § 40-35-316(b).

Petition to Come Under the Work Release Program 

A prisoner desiring to come under the work release program must file a petition with the work release coordinator of the correctional/rehabilitation division. The petition must be joined in by the sheriff and concurred with by the superintendent and approved by the commission. T.C.A. § 41-2-135.

Grounds for Removal from Program

Any prisoner placed under the work release program may be taken out of the program for just cause by the commission. In the event a prisoner is taken out of the work release program, the prisoner must remain in the workhouse and complete his or her sentence.  T.C.A. § 41-2-136.

Penalty for Failure to Return from Work on Time

In the event a prisoner placed under the work release program does not return to the workhouse at the time specified by the superintendent or the work release coordinator, such failure to return constitutes prima facie evidence of intent to escape, and the prisoner shall be subject to such penalties as are imposed or shall hereafter be imposed under the general law of the state for persons charged with the crime of escape. T.C.A. § 41-2-137.

Monthly Report to Sentencing Judge

The superintendent of the workhouse must file a monthly report with respect to each prisoner placed under the work release program with the judge by whom the prisoner was sentenced advising the judge as to the conduct and financial achievement of the prisoner.  T.C.A. § 41-2-138.

Liability of Participating Prisoners for Program Costs

Any prisoner placed under the work release program who has been convicted of a misdemeanor must pay to the workhouse, for housing, board and administration of the program, the sum of not less than six dollars nor more than $28 for each day the prisoner works away from the workhouse, in addition to any fine imposed by the court. The above amount shall be determined by the board of workhouse commissioners established by T.C.A. § 41-2-134 and in accordance with T.C.A. § 41-2-129(b)(1). T.C.A. § 41-2-139.

Rules and Regulations Governing Work Release Program

The sheriff, the correctional/rehabilitation work release coordinator, and the superintendent of the workhouse must establish rules and regulations for the orderly operation of the work release program. The rules and regulations must be approved by the commission. A violation of any rules and regulations so promulgated shall constitute cause for the removal of the prisoner from the program under the provisions of T.C.A. § 41-2-136. T.C.A. § 41-2-141.