Mistaken Olson Release Shows CA Sentencing Law Complexity


Despite reviewing the file of Sara Jane Olson many times, California prison administrators and clerks failed to catch the miscalculation that led to the premature release of the former 1970s radical, reports the Associated Press. Olson, 61, was paroled March 17, a year before her sentence was to end. She was re-arrested five days later. Three rank-and-file corrections workers who calculate inmate release dates and two supervisors are under investigation. One clerk spent 90 minutes going over the complicated case with a supervisor, who agreed with the clerk’s parole calculation, said the Service Employees International Union, which represents 15,000 civilian employees in the state prison system.

Officials say the mistake illustrates the complexity of California’s criminal sentencing laws. Olson’s premature release was discovered after reporters and Sacramento prosecutors questioned whether the former Symbionese Liberation Army member had served her full sentence. The subsequent review by corrections officials found that she still had a year to serve. Olson was serving a 14-year sentence after pleading guilty to the attempted bombing of Los Angeles police cars in the 1970s and a bank robbery near Sacramento that left a customer dead.

Link: http://www.startribune.com/local/17080791.html

Comments are closed.