(1) The department may adopt rules permitting the extension of the limits of the place of confinement of an inmate as to whom there is reasonable cause to believe that the inmate will honor his or her trust by authorizing the inmate, under prescribed conditions and following investigation and approval by the secretary, or the secretary’s designee, who shall maintain a written record of such action, to leave the confines of that place unaccompanied by a custodial agent for a prescribed period of time to: (a) Visit, for a specified period, a specifically designated place or places:
1. For the purpose of visiting a dying relative, attending the funeral of a relative, or arranging for employment or for a suitable residence for use when released;
2. To otherwise aid in the rehabilitation of the inmate and his or her successful transition into the community; or
3. For another compelling reason consistent with the public interest,
and return to the same or another institution or facility designated by the Department of Corrections.
(b) Work at paid employment, participate in an education or a training program, or voluntarily serve a public or nonprofit agency or faith-based service group in the community, while continuing as an inmate of the institution or facility in which the inmate is confined, except during the hours of his or her employment, education, training, or service and traveling thereto and therefrom. An inmate may travel to and from his or her place of employment, education, or training only by means of walking, bicycling, or using public transportation or transportation that is provided by a family member or employer. Contingent upon specific appropriations, the department may transport an inmate in a state-owned vehicle if the inmate is unable to obtain other means of travel to his or her place of employment, education, or training.
1. An inmate may participate in paid employment only during the last 36 months of his or her confinement, unless sooner requested by the Parole Commission or the Control Release Authority.
2. While working at paid employment and residing in the facility, an inmate may apply for placement at a contracted substance abuse transition housing program. The transition assistance specialist shall inform the inmate of program availability and assess the inmate’s need and suitability for transition housing assistance. If an inmate is approved for placement, the specialist shall assist the inmate. If an inmate requests and is approved for placement in a contracted faith-based substance abuse transition housing program, the specialist must consult with the chaplain prior to such placement. The department shall ensure that an inmate’s faith orientation, or lack thereof, will not be considered in determining admission to a faith-based program and that the program does not attempt to convert an inmate toward a particular faith or religious preference.
(c) Participate in a residential or nonresidential rehabilitative program operated by a public or private nonprofit agency, including faith-based service groups, with which the department has contracted for the treatment of such inmate. The provisions of ss. 216.311 and 287.057 shall apply to all contracts between the department and any private entity providing such services. The department shall require such agency to provide appropriate supervision of inmates participating in such program. The department is authorized to terminate any inmate’s participation in the program if such inmate fails to demonstrate satisfactory progress in the program as established by departmental rules.
(2) Each inmate who demonstrates college-level aptitudes by satisfactory evidence of successful completion of college-level academic coursework may be provided the opportunity to participate in college-level academic programs which may be offered at community colleges or universities. The inmate is personally responsible for the payment of all student fees incurred.
(3) The department may adopt regulations as to the eligibility of inmates for the extension of confinement, the disbursement of any earnings of these inmates, or the entering into of agreements between itself and any city or county or federal agency for the housing of these inmates in a local place of confinement. However, no person convicted of sexual battery pursuant to s. 794.011 is eligible for any extension of the limits of confinement under this section.
(4) The willful failure of an inmate to remain within the extended limits of his or her confinement or to return within the time prescribed to the place of confinement designated by the department shall be deemed as an escape from the custody of the department and shall be punishable as prescribed by law.
(5) The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to authorize any inmate who has been convicted of any murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, robbery, arson, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, escape, breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, or aircraft piracy, or any attempt to commit the aforementioned crimes, to attend any classes at any state community college or any university which is a part of the State University System.
(6)(a) The department shall require inmates working at paid employment as provided in paragraph (1)(b) to use a portion of the employment proceeds to provide restitution to the aggrieved party for the damage or loss caused by the offense of the inmate, in an amount to be determined by the department, unless the department finds clear and compelling reasons not to order such restitution. If restitution or partial restitution is not ordered, the department shall state on the record in detail the reasons therefor.
(b) An offender who is required to provide restitution or reparation may petition the circuit court to amend the amount of restitution or reparation required or to revise the schedule of repayment established by the department or the Parole Commission.
(7) The department shall document and account for all forms for disciplinary reports for inmates placed on extended limits of confinement, which shall include, but not be limited to, all violations of rules of conduct, the rule or rules violated, the nature of punishment administered, the authority ordering such punishment, and the duration of time during which the inmate was subjected to confinement.
(8)(a) The department is authorized to levy fines only through disciplinary reports and only against inmates placed on extended limits of confinement. Major and minor infractions and their respective punishments for inmates placed on extended limits of confinement shall be defined by the rules of the department, provided that any fine shall not exceed $50 for each infraction deemed to be minor and $100 for each infraction deemed to be major. Such fines shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund, and a receipt shall be given to the inmate.
(b) When the chief correctional officer determines that a fine would be an appropriate punishment for a violation of the rules of the department, both the determination of guilt and the amount of the fine shall be determined by the disciplinary committee pursuant to the method prescribed in s. 944.28(2)(c).
(c) The department shall develop rules defining the policies and procedures for the administering of such fines.