One Pennsylvania prison uses an iris scanner to identify inmates so there is no mistaking who walks out the door; another requires at least two corrections officers to discharge a prisoner. Even with those and other measures, wardens tell the Philadelphia Inquirer, mistaken releases happen, though rarely. But in Delaware County, Pa., at least five inmates have been released in error since May. One of those inmates, David Wilson, who was convicted of firearms offenses, is still at large.Delaware County officials say the mistaken releases resulted from paperwork errors and confusion over inmates’ identities. They said they were trying to correct the problem with tighter procedures and more staff. The county prison is operated by the private Community Education Centers Inc.
Prisons in New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Florida, and California all mistakenly released prisoners over the summer. The Toronto Star reported that 143 inmates were incorrectly released from Ontario correctional facilities over the last eight years. Though prisons in Pennsylvania report escapes and the number of inmates who walk off while on work release, there is no statewide reporting of mistaken releases.