This is a problem in every state, largely because prisons’ “records departments” are as screwed up as the rest of the prison system!
Like the other major problem of deliberate abuses, this issue alone is costing taxpayers – YOU – millions and millions of dollars.
Excerpts from the Article:
Inmates are forced to stay longer in prison. And it’s not because they’ve done anything wrong while serving time. Their attorney says the state isn’t doing a good enough job of keeping track. So now, taxpayers are on the hook to pay a large sum of money.
It’s not just a few extra days. We’re talking about months at a time that the inmates overstayed. And taxpayers are footing the bill in more ways than one.
Attorney Myles Breiner has four cases pending against the state for what’s known as inmate overstay. The lawsuits say that altogether, all four inmates spent more than a thousand days past their release date.
“You’d think that given the digital age that we’re in we’d be able to account for inmate time. Unfortunately, we have an antiquated system that we use in Hawaii. Someone writes down on a piece of paper the number of hours and days someone’s in custody,” said Breiner.
It’s a problem that’s costing state taxpayers in at least a couple of different ways. There’s the additional money for housing and feeding inmates those extra days. As well as the money the state would have to pay because of these lawsuits.
A study done two years ago estimates that it costs the state $140 a day to keep each prisoner locked up. The four inmates who filed a lawsuit overstayed 1,029 days, which amounts to more than $144,000 in additional costs.
As for the cost from the lawsuit, Breiner says it could be millions of dollars, although he’s still negotiating with the state. “All our discussions with the state have been frankly insulting. The notion that someone’s life can be reduced to pennies on the dollar, that doesn’t work,” he said.
Breiner says there are likely more cases out there and a key lawmaker says he’s right.
“Because of fear and retaliation they are not suing the state and they do not want to come forward. But there are other individuals who have been held beyond the sentencing timeline,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Committee Chairwoman.
She says it’s troubling and plans to ask Department of Public Safety officials what’s being done about it.