Maryland routinely miscalculated early release dates for inmates at two prisons, resulting in some being released too soon and others confined too long, says a state audit reported by the Washington Post. The audit found that the date was wrong in 22 of 65 randomly selected cases at the prisons, ranging from 112 days early to 24 days late. The Office of Legislative Audits projected that one-fifth to one-half of the early release dates could have been wrong in 2003 at the two prisons, which the audit did not name.
The audit attributed the errors to incorrect data entered into a prison computer system. In some cases, inmates were awarded work credits when they were unable to work. In other instances, credits were not properly recorded to reflect time served in local jails. Inmates can shave days from their sentences for good conduct, doing work, making progress in educational programs and completing special projects. Officials defended their work. “We do a very good job considering how complex the abundance of laws have made this area,” Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Mary Ann Saar said. Among the 22 cases, 17 inmates were released too early, and five were released too late.