Ex-WA Corrections Chief Says He Was Unaware Of 3,200 Erroneous Releases


Former Washington state Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner tells the Seattle Times he learned only in recent weeks of his department's calculation errors that allowed the early release of up to 3,200 prisoners. Warner’s successor told state lawmakers that one of Warner's assistant secretaries knew of the issue in 2012. The discovery of the problem — incorrectly programmed software that cut time from some inmates' sentences — “was passed up at least as high as an assistant secretary,” Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Dan Pacholke told the House General Government & Information Technology Committee.

Warner said, “I was shocked to learn that the Department was releasing inmates inaccurately for the past thirteen years and when it was found out in my administration, it was not addressed. “I fully support and hope the investigation gets to the bottom of what went wrong so that such a public safety breach will never happen again.” The assistant secretary who reportedly knew of the problem, Denise Doty, said, she is “cooperating fully with the independent investigation” commissioned by Gov. Jay Inslee. The governor retained two former federal prosecutors for the inquiry. Officials say two people were killed last year in situations allegedly connected to two prisoners who had been released and should still have been in prison. The two have been charged.

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