Reported by: Joe Hart
March 2nd 2012
Some Nevada prison inmates tell us computer errors have added crimes to their records they never committed — and prison officials confirm that’s it happened hundreds of times in recent years.
Our Fact Finder report found the prison system switched over to a new computer program in 2007 which it turns out regularly added false convictions and even additional life sentences to inmates records.
Prison spokesman Steve Suwee told News 4 there’s a glitch in the system because its designed to process sentences of specific durations…Say 10 or 20 years. But when an inmate has a life sentence the glitch may add additional crimes to that inmate’s record.
Suwee says it may have happened as many as 1,300 times since 2007. Those are the cases they know about.
One former prison inmate who was serving a life term told News 4 the system added multiple life sentences which his case worker spotted and corrected before he went to the parole board.
In addition, Don Helling, the former deputy director of the Nevada Department of Corrections indicated there were problems when he testified in a lawsuit last year about discrepencies in inmates’ records. Helling’s sworn testimony stated, ” Speculating, we converted over to a new system in
’07, and when all of the information was flipped over into the new system errors occurred.”
Prison officials say the problem continues to happen once or twice a month. And now that we’ve brought it up they are going to try to run the numbers and find out exactly how many mistakes have been caught since 2007. We’ll follow up next week as we learn more about this glitch and its possible impact on prison sentences.