Programming Error Leads to Early Release for Thousands of Prisoners

Wednesday Dec 23rd 2015 by Developer.com Staff

A developer's mistake is having big consequences in Washington state.

About 3,200 prisoners in Washington state were reportedly released early due to a programming error that has persisted since 2002. At that time, the Washington Supreme Court ordered the Department of Corrections (DOC) to credit prisoners for good behavior, such as participating in rehabilitation programs. The software that tracks the program has been over-crediting prisoners, leading to early release for many.

The problem was reportedly first discovered in 2012, but fixes were delayed several times. The DOC now plans to apply a new software patch January 7.

The state is forcing prisoners who were mistakenly released early to return to prison or work release programs to complete their sentences.

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