The state department of corrections is exploring new safeguards to prevent work release inmates from escaping.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Adult Services, Perry Stagg, says they’re looking at a variety of options from more supervision to ankle bracelets.

“Additional oversight by the work release facilities themselves, additional requirements for the job site supervisors. We’re also looking at electronic monitoring and other things other states have incorporated to see if those things might work for us,” Stagg said.

Stagg says the department has seen a decrease in inmates walking off their jobs in recent years, and this is an effort to continue that trend. In 2016, 70 of the more than 5,000 work release participants escaped. He says they’re always looking for new ways to improve their operations.

“As things come to light, as different occurrences happen, whatever it may be, we take a look at a specific incident and see what happened there and see if there’s something we can improve based on that,” Stagg said.

Stagg says the work release program is invaluable to these inmates, many of whom will get out of jail in less than a year. He says although there is always a risk associated with convicted felons, the department sees the benefit to rehabilitating these offenders.

“These folks are going home to live among your family, your friends, and your community very shortly. It’s just a matter of how we transition them into society, and we feel that work release is a good way to do that,” Stagg said.

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