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Over 3,000 prisoners let out early thanks to software glitch

Washington State Prison Software Glitch

More than 3,000 prisoners in Washington State over the past 13 years have received the best Christmas gift they could have hoped for: Early freedom. The Seattle Times brings us word that an estimated 3,200 prisoners in Washington were let out early thanks to a software glitch that miscalculated the amount of time they had left to serve. Officials became aware of the issue in 2012 and it had apparently been a problem since 2002.

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“The problem stemmed from ‘good time’ credits applied to certain prison sentences, and was discovered, according to the Corrections Department, only after a victim’s family alerted officials in 2012 that they might be planning to release an offender too early,” The Seattle Times reports. “Once the broader problem was discovered, a scheduled software fix got caught up in repeated IT delays, yet to be explained.”

While letting out prisoners early is obviously less than ideal, it’s not as though the state was releasing convicted child murderers 30 years too soon — according to the state, the affected prisoners were let go an average of 55 days before their actual release dates. Even so, Washington governor Jay Inslee is taking this very seriously and is vowing to get to the bottom of why this glitch wasn’t fixed sooner.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.