Work release programs are typically geared towards criminals who are looking to avoid serving time in jail, yet who have been convicted of non-violent crimes such as drug crimes, theft crimes and white collar crimes. Individuals convicted of violent crimes are traditionally sentenced by judge and/or jury to serve time in jail or prison. However, a recent investigation by the Tampa Bay Times into Florida's work release programs unveiled the fact that more than 600 violent criminals are currently living and working in work release centers throughout the state. That means approximately 17.6 percent of the close to 3500 work release center offenders in Florida have committed a violent crime.
Some examples of violent criminals who have found their way into a work release program include a woman who is serving a mandatory life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder, a man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder, another man who pled guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, another man who was convicted of attempted murder after shooting at police, and a woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after shooting a guard who had restrained her friend for shoplifting. On February 25th, a man who had escaped from a work release center in Largo, only to steal a gun from his ex-girlfriend then break into a home, shoot two people working on the home, and set the home on fire in an attempt to cover his crimes, ended up pleading guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
As of March 1st, the Florida Department of Corrections states they have removed all convicted murderers from their work release centers and will no longer allow them to participate in work release programs. Instead, the state plans on primarily reserving work release programs for inmates who are almost done serving their sentence and need to begin the transition back into society.
When facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side who is dedicated to pursuing all possible options to defend your rights and freedom. Regardless of the charges against you, the team at The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger is committed to providing each of our clients with the respect, professional service and aggressive representation they deserve. We are also determined to help our clients pursue alternatives to incarceration whenever possible. As former prosecutors, and proven litigators, we have a distinct advantage we are able to use while advocating and negotiating on behalf of our clients.
Contact a Tampa criminal lawyer at our firm today in order to discuss your case and review your legal options.