The early results of a Colorado Department of Corrections audit has so far found errors that led to early release dates for hundreds of prisoners, reports the Denver Post. The sentencing judges must now decide which of those already released should be returned to prison to serve out the longer sentences required by state law. Other cases involve prisoners who are on the verge of release who may now see their sentences extended. The audit is on pace to find serious sentencing flaws in more than 1,000 cases.
The audit was ordered after it was disclosed that a parolee believed to have murdered corrections chief Tom Clements was released from prison early because of a clerical error. The errors found in the audit occurred for a variety of reasons. In some cases, judicial clerks may have given incorrect sentences to the corrections department. In others, corrections officials may have interpreted sentences incorrectly. A full breakdown is not yet available on how the errors occurred. The state has identified 8,415 individuals whose sentences need reviews. The work will conclude in July.