The Board of Supervisors established this program in 1987, as an alternative to incarceration. Participants are not in custody while participating in the program. The program is operated under Penal Code 4024.3 and under the direction of the Presiding Kern County Superior Court Judge with the opinion of County Counsel.
The Work Release Program is designed to supplement the work force of public entities and provide a labor force at no additional cost to the agencies using the Program, while providing an alternative to incarceration for the County and Participants.
There are two types of referrals involved in the Work Release Program. One avenue is the direct referral of a person by the sentencing judge and is called "Court Referral". The other avenue is a person who is in custody and applies to the program in order to be released from custody, called "Release From Custody". In-custody applicants must serve 10% of their commitment and be within 150 days of their scheduled release date. In-custody applicants have two options when signing up on the Work Release Program. The first option is to complete all the remaining custodial days on the Work Release Program. The second option is for the participant to complete 60 days on the Work Release Program and be released to Sheriff's Parole for 6 months subsequently. Court referred applicants have no limitation on the number of days to be completed on their commitment.
The persons are screened in a review process to determine their eligibility for the program. The criteria evaluated in the process includes a review of the persons medical history and criminal charges. The person must be able to perform manual labor. They are not accepted if they are found to be sentenced for violent crimes or sexual deviancy. Most of the participants are drug, alcohol, theft and vehicle code offenders. The Sheriff reserves the right to deny participation in the program and may exclude persons due to criminal charges, past criminal history and other factors that effect the persons suitability for the program. Kern County does not accept persons from other Counties or States to enroll in the Program. The Sheriff does not administer a Work Furlough, Community Service, Home Detention or Electronic Monitoring program.