- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More than 3,000 prisoners incarcerated in Washington state have been inadvertently released prematurely over the past 13 years because of a software glitch, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

Mr. Inslee, a Democrat, said in a statement that he ordered the Washington Department of Corrections to take immediate action after learning that a computational error had allowed thousands of prisoners to be credited with excessive “good time” that subsequently resulted in them being let loose before their scheduled release date.

“These were serious errors with serious implications,” Mr. Inslee said in a statement. “When I learned of this I ordered DOC to fix this, fix it fast and fix it right.”

The governor’s office said that the problem resulted from a 2002 state Supreme Court ruling that required Washington’s Department of Corrections to apply “good time” credits earned in county jail and state prison sentences.

“The department changed its sentence computation coding to comply with the ruling; however the programming fix contained an inaccurate sequencing that over-credited good time for those offenders with sentencing enhancements,” his office said.

As a result, as many as 3,200 offenders were freed prematurely during the 13 years since, with early estimates released by the governor’s office suggesting that the median number of days inmates had been released early being 49 days before their actual release date.

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

The Department of Corrections told CNN Tuesday that it has identified seven offenders who had been wrongly released and has apprehended five of them.

“DOC is working swiftly to locate offenders who were released from prison prior to their actual earned release date and ensure they fulfill their sentences as required by law,” Mr. Inslee’s office said in a statement.

The governor has ordered to DOC to put a hold on any scheduled releases until new calculations are done by hand, and said a software fix is expected to be implemented by Jan. 7.

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