'Staff errors' led to 152 U.S. inmates serving extra time: report | Reuters

WASHINGTON Errors by the U.S. agency that oversees the federal prison system resulted in 152 inmates staying in prison beyond their scheduled release dates between 2009 and 2014, a government watchdog said on Tuesday. The errors caused three inmates to serve more than one year of extra time, and cost the U.S

Reuters May 25, 2016 00:17:04 IST
'Staff errors' led to 152 U.S. inmates serving extra time: report
| Reuters

Staff errors led to 152 US inmates serving extra time report
 Reuters

WASHINGTON Errors by the U.S. agency that oversees the federal prison system resulted in 152 inmates staying in prison beyond their scheduled release dates between 2009 and 2014, a government watchdog said on Tuesday.

The errors caused three inmates to serve more than one year of extra time, and cost the U.S. government at least $1 million to incarcerate the prisoners for the additional time and to settle lawsuits by four of the late-released inmates, according to U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Most of the late-released inmates served a month or less of extra time. Five federal inmates were also released earlier than they should have been during the same period, the audit found.

U.S. prison populations have soared in recent decades as a result of harsher federal and state-level sentencing policies. A recent White House economic study found that overcrowded prisons strain the U.S. economy more than they boost it or reduce crime.

One inmate in the audit report published Tuesday spent more than a year of extra time in prison because federal prison officials had not checked his online court records and therefore missed a judge's order substantially shortening his sentence.

While the 152 prisoners released late due to staff error were a tiny portion of the 462,000 federal inmates released between 2009 and 2014, Horowitz also identified more than 4,000 federal prisoners whose releases the Bureau of Prisons classifies as "untimely," but not due to staff error.

"Neither the Department nor the BOP has attempted to work with the other agencies to examine these cases, and they don't appear to fully understand all of the actions that can contribute to untimely releases," Horowitz said in a video accompanying the report.

The "vast majority" of untimely releases are the result of court-initiated actions and are not errors of any type, according to U.S. Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush.

"That being said, the Department of Justice is already taking affirmative steps to implement the recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General to further reduce instances of inappropriate untimely releases occurring," he said in an emailed statement.

Horowitz's report recommended seven ways for the Justice Department to better prevent prisoners being released at the wrong time, and asked the agency to show evidence of improvement by the end of August.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

also read

Copa America 2021: Tournament left without a host country after CONMEBOL rules out Argentina amid rising COVID-19 cases
Sports

Copa America 2021: Tournament left without a host country after CONMEBOL rules out Argentina amid rising COVID-19 cases

CONMEBOL said on Sunday on Twitter — and it was later confirmed by an official — that they were analysing “the offer of other nations who showed interest in hosting the continental tournament,” without naming them.

US govt reverses Donald Trump-era policy to reject certain H-1B visa applications
World

US govt reverses Donald Trump-era policy to reject certain H-1B visa applications

The earlier policy had allowed immigration officers to reject H-1B visa applications instead of first issuing a notice of intent to deny to the applicants

US increasingly unlikely to meet Joe Biden's target of 70% vaccination by 4 July
World

US increasingly unlikely to meet Joe Biden's target of 70% vaccination by 4 July

Around 15.5 million unvaccinated adults need to receive at least one dose in the next four weeks for Biden to meet his goal