Audit Seeks Answers about Prison Sentences in Nevada

From: MyNews4, Reported by Joe Hart, on July 16th to 18th, 2012:

Prison officials first told News Four in March there was no need to track possible computer mistakes that may be keeping inmates locked up longer than they should be.

“Some people would probably say yes but what’s the point of tracking them as long as you fix them ?”  Steve Suwe told us at the time. Suwe is the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections.
But state lawmakers have a different view.  Now, the Department of Corrections is facing its first ever audit to find out whether a computer glitch may be adding false charges to inmates records.

State Assemblyman William Horne, who chairs the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice called for the audit after questioning prison officials about the issue.

“We need to find out whether this is actually happening and if so, we need to correct it,” Horne told News 4.
The issue dates back to 2007  when the Department of Corrections switched over to a new computer system.  Prison officials told us the new system got tripped up when calculating certain types of sentences, 
especially those with indefinite terms such as ten years to life.

 News four obtained a copy of a deposition from a lawsuit filed on behalf of former inmate Nolan Klein.
Former warden and deputy director at NDOC Don Helling testified in his deposition last year that quote  “All of the old data was flipped over into the new information system and when the information was flipped, errors occurred.”

But prison officials say even if errors did happen they were caught and corrected.  They insist no inmate has ever served extra time because of a computer mistake.

“We haven’t found one case where the computer has added a sentence,” said Rex Reed, who oversees inmate management for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

But state lawmakers say they’re aren’t satisfied with the answers they have received from the Department of Corrections. In fact in his letter to the Legislative Counsel Bureau dated June 14th, Assemblyman Horne wrote:  “I have not received any satisfactory answers.”

 Horne’s letter asks the audit division to find out:

-whether any errors showed up on inmates records as a result of the computer switchover in 2007.
-whether any errors turned up on records reported to the parole board.
-how the department of corrections resolves complaints about inmate records.
-and whether changes are needed to improve the d-o-c’s computerized offender tracking system.

Horne says the audit could be just the first step.

Read the rest here: http://www.mynews4.com/content/news/factfinder/story/Audit-Seeks-Answers-about-Prison-Sentences-in/lST19yH4jEOBahgdNcAkjg.cspx

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