By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Rhode Island Department of Corrections over the continued imprisonment of an inmate who was granted parole.

Robert McKinney was sentenced in June 1997 to life in prison for murder and a consecutive sentence of 10 years for conspiracy, The Providence Journal reported.

The ACLU said that under Rhode Island law, an inmate who is serving consecutive sentences is eligible for parole after serving one-third of the total sentence.

The ACLU argues that McKinney was eligible for parole after 23 years and four months.

The Parole Board voted unanimously to grant parole on May 16, with a release date of December 2019.

However, the Department of Corrections changed how parole eligibility is calculated with out notifying McKinney or the parole board.

The suit contests that McKinney is entitled to immediate release and that his continued imprisonment constitutes unreasonable seizure, deprives him of due process, and qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

The Department of Corrections was not available for comment.

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