Work release is a program in which a person serves a jail sentence but is allowed to leave the jail facility during the day for certain activities. Generally, employment, search for employment, education, medical treatment, alcohol or drug counseling, and certain specific court-approved exceptions are considered qualified activities for someone serving work release as an alternative to straight jail time. A fee is charged to participate in work release at a daily rate that varies by jail facility.
Below is a list of jails in Western Washington that currently offer work release and the restrictions that apply for qualification. As you can see, the options are currently very limited with only jails in King, Thurston and Skagit Counties offering work release opportunities. The rules, regulations, and availability of work release options in Washington state change frequently. We will do our best to update this information but have included website information where possible. Should you have questions regarding your eligibility to serve work release in a specific jail it is best to call the facility directly. Often an application must be filed and approved well in advance of the jail report date.
King County Work Release
King County has the largest volume of work release options in western Washington, some of which will accept out of county referrals in certain circumstances. The options currently available are:
King County Jail: The King County Jail offers work release to qualified persons serving either a felony or misdemeanor based jail sentences. It will accept individuals convicted in King County superior, district or municipal court as well as referrals from other counties if otherwise qualified. To be qualified the person must have a record of good behavior and their employment must be located within King County. The cost of the program is on a sliding scale based upon income. More information about the King County program is located here.
Kent Correctional Facility: The city jail in Kent provides work release for those convicted of charges in Kent Municipal Court. It has been known to accept referrals from other jurisdictions but that remains at the discretion of the facility. To determine qualification an application should be filed well in advance of the report date. Self-employed individuals can be qualified so long as they work in an office away from the home. The cost is currently $50.00/day. More information about the Kent Correctional Facilities program is available here.
Kirkland Municipal Jail: Kirkland offers work release but, currently, only to those convicted of crimes in jurisdictions that contract with Kirkland Municipal Court. Traditionally that means the cities of Kirkland, Medina and Hunt’s Point. There have been times when the Kirkland Jail has accepted out of jurisdiction referrals so it may still be worthwhile to check. Self-employed persons are accepted if they can present a valid business license. The daily cost is two times a person’s hourly rate of pay up to $50.00/day. More information about the Kirkland Municipal Jail application is available here.
Enumclaw City Jail: This jail does accept out of jurisdiction referrals and there do not appear to be any significant restrictions other than geography. Self-employed individuals must be able to provide two years’ worth of 1040 tax forms, a business license and work nearby. The cost is currently $60.00/day.
Thurston County Work Release
The Thurston County Corrections Bureau currently offers a work release program. The cost is $15.00/day and open to anyone convicted of a qualifying offense, with a court referral. Out of county referrals are accepted so long as the person works within Thurston County and is otherwise qualified. More information about the Thurston County program is available here.
Skagit County Work Release
Skagit County Jail offers works release to those convicted of offenses in any district or municipal court located within Skagit County. It does not accept referrals from other counties. To be eligible a risk assessment must be completed. No violent offenders or sex offenders will be accepted. Self-employed individuals are accepted on a case by case basis. There is a $100.00 application fee and the cost is $156.00/day. Further information about the Skagit Couty program is located here.
Pierce County Work Release
While Pierce County eliminated its work release program in 2016-17, it does appear to offer a work crew program in lieu of jail. Eligibility requires a referral from a district court judge but the crews operate 7 days a week and could afford some flexibility for those seeking to keep their employment during a period of incarceration.
Snohomish County Work Release
On January 1, 2017, Snohomish County eliminated its Jail’s Community Corrections Division, effectively terminating work and education release and work crew alternatives in Snohomish County. No municipal jails have been identified in Snohomish County as providing work release opportunities.