Claudio J. Poillot was serving a 48-month prison sentence for a felony conviction. While in state custody and being housed at the Kissimmee Community Center, Poillot began employment with a construction company, JS & Son Construction Services through the work release program. The work release program permitted Poillot to work outside of the correctional facility from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On July 29, 2014, he left the Kissimmee Community Work Release Center and timely reported to work at JS & Son Construction. Shortly thereafter, Poillot left his place of employment without permission and was unaccounted for until he timely returned to the work release center before 6:00 p.m. Upon his return, Poillot was arrested and charged with escape pursuant to Florida Statute §944.40. Subsequently, the trial court granted Poillot’s Motion to Dismiss and the State appealed.
The Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision, concluding the work release program was an extension of Poillot’s confinement, and his deviation from the program in the manner asserted by the State establishes a prima facie case for escape. The Florida Supreme Court concurred with the Fifth District Court of Appeals and held that an inmate is still confined when he is working as part of a work release program, and leaving without permission would subject the inmate to a charge of escape. Poillot v. State, No. SC15-1691 (Fla. September 8, 2016).