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37 Fed. Probation 48 (1973)
Evaluating Work Furlough: A Followup

handle is hein.journals/fedpro37 and id is 122 raw text is: Evaluating Work Furlough: A Followup
Department of Sociology, California State University, San Jose

HIS IS a followup of a preliminary report of
the same title which was published in FED-
ERAL PROBATION, March 1971.1 It was ex-
plained there that in 1965 the Sheriff of Santa
Clara County, California, called upon the present
authors to undertake an independent and detailed
evaluation of the work release or work furlough
program which had been administered in his De-
partment since 1957. The financial returns to the
county and to the inmate were not an issue
although this was investigated. What the Sheriff
wanted to know was what impact the program
had on continued criminality, on family ties, and
on the job history of the inmates after release.
These were accepted as the problems which the
Work Furlough Study would explore. While work
furlough had gained wide popularity as a correc-
tional expedient throughout the United States, its
growth was based largely on faith rather than
on reliable evidence. Support in kind was pro-
vided by the Sheriff's Department, funding was
provided through the U.S. Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare,2 and the State Depart-
ment of Rehabilitation provided a vocational
counselor on a salary reimbursement basis. The
Work Furlough Study began in 1967 and con-
cluded with the submission of its final report 4
years later.
The preliminary report in FEDERAL PROBATION
(March 1971) explained that the Sheriff's staff
operated the work furlough program from the
Elmwood Rehabilitation Center. This is a mini-
mum-security facility housing about 600 jail in-
mates serving sentences ranging from a few days
to a year or longer in the event of consecutive
On any one day, about 200 Elmwood inmates
out of this total of 600 were off the premises
working at their civilian jobs at prevailing wages.
They returned to Elmwood each night. This is
work furlough-furlough or releasing an inmate
for standard civil employment during the day on
I Alvin Rudoff, T. C. Esselstyn, and George L. Kirkham, Evalu-
ating Work Furlough, FEDERAL PROBATION Vol. 35, No. 1, March
1971. pp. 34-38.
2 SRS Grant No. 12-P-55261/9-04 (RD-2506-G) See Alvin Rudoff
and T. C. Esselstyn, Jail Inmates at Work, Final Report, 1971. Copies
available on request through the authors, California State University,
San Jose.

condition that he return to custody at night. This
process continues until his sentence expires. All
Elmwood inmates were eligible for work fur-
lough. Many applied. Some did not. Some were
accepted, some were denied. The process of selec-
tion and the criteria governing it had been de-
veloped by the Sheriff's staff over many years.
Neither the process of selection nor the criteria
were modified by the Work Furlough Study dur-
ing its 4-year history. It was designed to test
the results of the existing program. The only
change in the ongoing system was the introduc-
tion of a Department of Rehabilitation counselor
on an experimental basis to provide special serv-
ices to a limited number of jail clients.
The methods employed can be summarized here
only roughly. Between 1968 and 1970, data were
collected on 2,360 inmates. Forty-two percent of
these were on work furlough, 58 percent were
not. Thus the Study was able to compare the
traits and performance of two groups-work fur-
lough and nonfurlough inmates. Data were col-
lected through various standard test instruments
and some that were developed specifically for this
project. Some instruments were applied only once,
for example, the Inmate Background Question-
naire and the Family Background Questionnaire.
Some were applied upon arrival and on the eve
of release for longer-term inmates-the Califor-
nia Psychological Inventory, the Adjective Check
List. Some involved a search of the records of
other agencies, for example, records of the De-
partment of Social Service and the Criminal In-
vestigation and Identification Division. All data
were coded, keypunched, and transferred to com-
puter tapes. Various statistical manipulations
were then undertaken depending upon the prob-
lem to be analyzed. This was partially true also
of data on staff although some of this could not
be quantified.
These methods yielded voluminous findings on
the characteristics of a jail population for that
part of the United States and on the outcome of
its work furlough program. Some of these findings

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