Inmates transition into the workplace

SC inmate work release program helps prisoners transition into the real world.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- South Carolina's inmate work release program has been around for more than 40 years.

The program gives inmates work experience while helping businesses that need it most.

Jimmy Sligh has worked with inmates for 30 years.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections Operations Director admits that the program has proven success, but there are stringent requirements to get placed into the work release program.

"This gets the inmate back into that daily routine of getting up, getting prepared, going to work, working a full day, coming back in and doing that over and over again," said Sligh.

To be considered for the program, inmates must be within 5 years of their release date, have no history of violence or sexual offense and have a clear record with the department of corrections.

"Everybody on this program is at one point going to get out of this system," said Sligh.

The jobs in the program are paid positions that can range from the fast food industry to more labor intensive tasks.

The inmate work release program helps the inmate transition back into the real world.

"A lot of these inmates have been able to keep their jobs when they get out and there have been a lot of success stories with that," said Sligh.

According to Corrections Spokesperson Clark Newsom it is rare that an inmate walks away from the jobsite. He admits that there have been around 3 cases in the past 12 months.