3200 Inmates Released By Mistake In Washington State
About 3200 inmates were released early from Washington State prisons due to computer errors. According to officials, for the past 13 years, computers have been inaccurately calculating good time credit, which led to the release of thousands of inmates serving time in county jails and state prisons.
3200 inmates have been released on an average of 45 days early due to some computer mix-up, according to a statement issued by Washington State officials.
On Tuesday, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced an investigation into a series of computer errors that began in 2002. Inslee explained that the malfunction made it possible for about 3 percent of the prisoners to be released out early.
The broken system gave the prisoners too much “good time” credit for the time they had served and made it possible for them to get out an average 45 days too soon. Inslee called the mistakes “frankly maddening,” and added that he has more questions than answers at the moment. He stated:
“These were serious errors with serious implications. When I learned of this, I ordered DOC to fix this, fix it fast, and fix it right now. 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.”
It has been revealed that corrections officials learned of the problem in 2012 and attempted to fix it but failed. This week, a newly hired chief information officer discovered the issue and alerted Inslee. So, what will happen to 3200 inmates, who are now back in society?
A small fraction will return to prison to finish their sentences, but the ex-convicts, who have been out of prison and did not commit new crimes will remain free. Thus far the Department of Corrections has identified seven offenders that need to be brought back in, and five have been put back behind bars.
Inslee has ordered a temporary halt to releasing any state prison inmate until the matter has been resolved. A new software to calculate release dates will start functioning by January 7, 2016.