Inmates escape from work release

KIMT News 3 – The work release program in Iowa is coming under fire after yet another inmate escapes from custody.

Earlier this week, the Iowa Department of Corrections reported, 22-year-old Melvin William Spencer III had escaped from custody.

The Sioux City inmate failed to report to jail following work release. He was serving seven years on intimidation with a dangerous weapon charge, but was granted work release.

This is the third case of work release related escapes this month according to official reports.

While the requirements for work releases differ between counties, jail administrators say there are rules in place to avoid these type of escapes.

“We call their supervisor, or employer and we check to make sure that they’re working there. If they are, once they get to work, we will send a deputy out there to check on them to make sure that they’re at their workplace,” said Sgt. John Richards of the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office.

Good behavior while in custody can help an inmate get into the program, as well as the nature of their crimes.

All work release orders are court ordered by a judge.

“To be on work release is a privilege, not a right and you just hope they go out to work and come back. Most of them do, we haven’t had any issues with that,” said Richards.

In Cerro Gordo County, the guidelines for work release are as follows:

-Must show proof of employment by paycheck stub with taxes being deducted.

-Pay one week’s room and board in advance.

-Be employed within Cerro Gordo County. (Unless given the okay by the Sheriff, Jail Administrator, or Sergeant.)

-Must show proof of federal, state and social security deductions.

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