(1) Any county shall be deemed to have a work-release program upon the motion of that county’s board of county commissioners which shall require the concurrence of the sheriff of the county.
(2)(a) Whenever punishment by imprisonment in the county jail is prescribed, the sentencing court, in its discretion, may at any time during the sentence consider granting the privilege to the prisoner to leave the confines of the jail or county facility during necessary and reasonable hours, subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the court, to work at paid employment, conduct his or her own business or profession, or participate in an educational or vocational training program, while continuing as an inmate of the county facility in which he or she shall be confined except during the period of his or her authorized release.
(b) Any prisoner, at the time of sentencing or thereafter, may request the court in writing for the privilege of being placed on the work-release program. The Department of Corrections, upon the request of the court, is authorized to conduct such investigations as are necessary and to make recommendations to the court pertaining to the suitability of the plan for the prisoner and to supervise such prisoner if released under this program. Such a release may be granted by the court with the advice and consent of the sheriff and upon agreement by the prisoner. The court may withdraw the privilege at any time, with or without notice.
(c) No person convicted of sexual battery pursuant to s. 794.011 is eligible for any work-release program or any other extension of the limits of confinement under this section. (3)(a) The wages or salary of prisoners employed under this program may be disbursed by the sheriff pursuant to court order for the following purposes in the order listed:
1. Board of the prisoner.
2. Necessary travel expense to and from work and other necessary incidental expenses of the prisoner.
3. Support of the prisoner’s legal dependents.
4. Payment, either in full or ratable, of the prisoner’s obligations acknowledged by him or her in writing or which have been reduced to judgment.
5. The balance to the prisoner upon discharge from his or her sentence, or until an order of the court is entered declaring that the prisoner has left lawful confinement, declaring that the balance remaining is forfeited, and directing the sheriff to deposit the funds in the general fund of the county to be spent for general purposes.
(b) The sheriff may collect from a prisoner the wages or salary earned pursuant to this program. The sheriff shall deposit the same in a trust checking account and shall keep a ledger showing the status of the account of each prisoner. Such wages and salaries shall not be subject to garnishment in the hands of either the employer or the sheriff during the prisoner’s sentence and shall be disbursed only as provided in this section.
(c) Every prisoner gainfully employed is liable for the cost of his or her board in the jail as fixed by the county. The sheriff shall charge the prisoner’s account, if he or she has one, for such board. If the prisoner is gainfully self-employed he or she shall deposit with the sheriff an amount determined by the court sufficient to accomplish the provisions of subparagraphs (a)1.-5., in default of which his or her privileges under this section are automatically forfeited.
(d) The board of county commissioners of any county may, upon the recommendation of the sheriff, authorize the person in charge of a county stockade or workcamp to implement paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), when such facility is not directly under the sheriff.
(4) Any prisoner who willfully fails to remain within the extended limits of his or her confinement or to return within the time prescribed to the place of confinement shall be deemed an escapee from custody and shall be subject to punishment as prescribed by law.
(5) Exchange for the purpose of work-release of county prisoners among other counties of the state that have implemented work-release programs is hereby authorized, with the concurrence of the sheriffs of the involved counties. For the purpose of this subsection, upon exchange, the prisoner shall be deemed a prisoner of the county where confined unless or until he or she is removed from extended confinement status. Prisoners from other jurisdictions, serving lawful sentences, may also be received into a county work-release program as above provided.
(6) In carrying out the purpose of this section, any board of county commissioners may provide in its annual budget for payment to the Department of Corrections out of funds collected from those being supervised such amounts as are agreed upon by the board and department to be reasonable and necessary. County judges are hereby authorized to levy $10 per month upon those supervised for purposes of paying for supervision under this act.