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Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at GeekWire Startup Day 2013.
Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at GeekWire Startup Day 2013.

A “computation issue” has allowed more than 3,200 prisoners in Washington state to be released early, the governor’s office said today.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement on Tuesday asking for immediate action to fix the sentencing error, which gave certain offenders too much “good time” and allowed them to leave early by a median number of 49 days. In total, 3 percent of all releases since 2002 were affected by the problem.

“These were serious errors with serious implications,” Inslee said in a statement. “When I learned of this I ordered DOC to fix this, fix it fast, and fix it right.”

Here’s how the state describes the problem:

The problem dates back to July 2002 when a state Supreme Court ruling required the DOC to apply “good time” credits earned in county jail to state prison sentences. The department changed its sentence computation coding to comply with the ruling; however the programming fix contained an inaccurate sequencing that over-credited good time for those offenders with sentencing enhancements.

The issue was first spotted in 2012, but repairs were delayed until a new CIO at the Department of Corrections noticed the problem again.

Inslee called the glitch “totally unacceptable and, frankly, maddening.” He ordered the DOC to pause all releases “until a hand calculation is done to ensure the offender is being released on the correct date.”

The DOC is also trying to locate offenders who were released early and “ensure they fulfill their sentences as required by law.” Those offenders will be given “day-for-day credit for their time in the community,” the state said. A fix is expected by Jan. 7.

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