In the last 13 years, Washington state has wrongly given as many as 3,200 inmates early releases from prison, NPR reports. “I’ve ordered immediate action to fix 13-year-old sentencing errors discovered at state prisons,” Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted yesterday. The issue has to do with how good-behavior time was credited to an inmate’s sentence. The Associated Press quotes authorities as saying a 2002 state Supreme Court ruling required the corrections department to apply good-behavior credits earned in county jail to state prison sentences. However, the programming fix ended up giving prisoners with sentencing enhancements too much credit.
Under state law, prisoners who get extra time for sentencing enhancements cannot have that time reduced for good behavior. Inslee described the issue as “maddening.” Adding that to allow the problem to continue for 13 years is “deeply disappointing.” Inslee’s office learned of the problem, which a Department of Corrections analysis said affected about 3 percent of all releases, on Dec. 16. The state was first alerted to the error in 2012, when a victim’s family learned of a prisoner’s imminent release. The family did its own calculations and found he was being credited with too much time. A timeline provided by the governor’s office shows a coding fix was scheduled, repeatedly delayed and then was never implemented.