Up to 33,000 prisoners in California may be entitled to release earlier than scheduled because the state has miscalculated their sentences, says the Los Angeles Times. For nearly two years, the state prison agency has failed to recalculate the sentences of those inmates despite a series of court rulings, including one by the California Supreme Court. The judges said the state applied the wrong formula when crediting certain inmates for good behavior behind bars. The story was first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
Some inmates released in recent months almost certainly stayed longer in prison than they should have, said corrections officials, employees, and advocates for prisoners. Some currently in prison most likely should be free, but many whose sentences are too long are not scheduled to be released for months or years. The inmates in question — 19% of the state prison population — are serving consecutive sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses. The sentencing errors range from a few days to several years. Officials say they have been unable to calculate the sentences properly because of staffing shortages and outdated computer systems that force analysts to do the complex work by hand.