If you live in Washington state, or nearby areas, you've probably been feeling a bit uneasy lately. It might be because of the recent reports of 3,200 convicted criminals being released from prison early.
It happened because of a computer glitch that calculated the inmates' good time incorrectly. And it wasn't something that just happened overnight. The glitch has been reportedly making these mistakes for more than 13 years.
Washington governor, Jay Inslee, released a statement yesterday about the errors. "I have a lot of questions about how and why this happened," he said. "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."
The governor ordered that immediate actions be taken to resolve the glitch, and that an investigation take place. "Fix this," Inslee demanded of the Department of Corrections (DOC). "Fix it fast, and fix it right."
So far, the error only affected around 3% of all inmates that were released from the prison over the last 13 years. And, it should also be noted that the glitch didn't cause years to be cut from these inmates sentences. In fact, according to estimates, the median number was 49 days before the prisoner's intended release date.
But, 49 days is still 49 days. And now, the DOC has been tasked with finding those prisoners so they can complete the full terms of their sentences.
As for those who were released early, officials do plan to factor in "good time" credits for the period of time between their early release and now. And, depending on the amount of time that still remains on each former offender's sentence, officials are considering multiple options. Some will be placed on work release, while others will go back to jail.
Unfortunately, any inmate that was scheduled to be released will have to wait. For now, Gov. Inslee has issued a temporary halt on releases until the issue is resolved. The software designed to fix the issue will not be up and running until sometime in January.