The point of "work release" jails is to keep inmates employed and connected to the community. But inmates can't always get to work. Dane County's trying to change that.
Overall, Dane County's work release or Huber program is working well. Sheriff Dave Mahoney says they have a 97-percent success rate with electronic monitoring. But many of those eligible for work release privileges don't have a way to get to a job. Inmates aren't allowed to drive and Mahoney says others don't have an approved chauffeur or aren't near public transportation, "Often we find inmates who come into the jail may work somewhere where this is no bus service. As a result they've had to quit their job and serve out their sentence. Many may not have that job waiting for them when they leave (jail.) Our hope is to keep that continuity of employment and we hope reduces recidivism"
The county executive's budget proposal includes $15,000 for work release transportation. That would pay for cabs and groups willing to provide the service to and from work.