PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has ended its controversial work-release program which came under scrutiny after sex offender Jeffrey Epstein reportedly exploited the program.

The county program, established in 1977, came under fire in August amid allegations that Epstein routinely had “improper sexual contact” with women while he was on work release from the county stockade about a decade ago, according to a lawyer representing a dozen of Epstein’s accusers.

Epstein, who avoided federal prosecution in 2008, was sentenced to 13 months at a Palm Beach County jail facility, but was allowed work release after pleading guilty on prostitution charges.

Under Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Epstein was allowed to go to a private office and his Palm Beach home with little supervision over what he did and who he saw.

An official with Criminal Justice Commission said the recommendation is not based on a “particular case” and recommended the program stay in place.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw disagreed and terminated the program.

Inmates can still qualify for PBSO’s house arrest program which allows qualified offenders out of jail, on house arrest, with an electronic ankle monitor.

Epstein died while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August.

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