Hundreds of Violent Calif. Inmates Freed by Mistake

High error rate found in unsupervised parole system
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2011 1:41 AM CDT
Updated May 26, 2011 3:00 AM CDT
If California can't manage its existing parole system safely, "how can the public have confidence they can release 33,000 felons safely?" a state senator asked.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
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(Newser) – California has been ordered to release tens of thousands of prisoners over the next two years to relieve overcrowding, but it's already failing to release inmates safely, according to the state's inspector general. Some 450 inmates "with a high risk of violence" were mistakenly released on unsupervised parole under a program that started early last year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

More than 1,000 other inmates likely to commit crimes against property or other offenses were also mistakenly released, estimates the inspector general, who reviewed a sample of case files. He blames the computer system used, which does not access an inmate's disciplinary record and is lacking conviction information for nearly half of the state's 16.4 million arrest records. The report "confirms my worst fears" about the unsupervised parole program, says the state lawmaker who requested the investigation.

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