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3,200 US prisoners mistakenly released (?)

23 December 2015 10:14


As many as 3,200 inmates were mistakenly released early from prisons in the US state of Washington since 2002 because of errors in calculating sentences.

The mistakes occurred during a 13-year period and began after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Corrections must apply “good time” credits earned in county jail to state sentences, Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

About 3 percent of all releases were given excessive “good time” credits. The median number of days that inmates were mistakenly released early is 49 days, Inslee said.

“That this problem was allowed to continue for 13 years is deeply disappointing to me, totally unacceptable and, frankly, maddening,” Inslee said in a statement.

“I have a lot of questions about how and why this happened, and I understand that members of the public will have those same questions. I expect the external investigation will bring the transparency and accountability we need to make sure this issue is resolved,” he added.

Correction officials are now trying to locate the ex-offenders who were released too early, and state authorities will ensure the ex-offenders will “fulfill their sentences as required by law,” the governor said.

State corrections authorities learned of the problem in 2012 but failed to fix it.

Inslee ordered the state Department of Corrections to temporarily halt all releases of prisoners with the enhanced sentences until a hand calculation ensured the offender would be set free correctly.

While the US represents nearly five percent of the world’s population, it incarcerates about 25 percent of the global prison population, making it the world’s largest jailer, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

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