Posted By: Camila Orti
Dozens of inmates released by the Dept. of Correctional Services may be heading back to prison.
Gov. Dave Heineman and Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning announced in a news conference Friday morning that Correctional Services made a mistake in calculating hundreds of inmates' sentences since 1995, releasing more than 300 early.
"They made a mistake and now we're correcting it, and they better not make a mistake in the future," Gov. Heineman said.
Heineman and Bruning say the calculation mix-up led to the early release of 306 inmates. Now, the state is backpedaling to make sure justice is served.
"The case law is clear, they owe us the time," Bruning said.
"The bad guys need to be locked up and they will be locked up," Heineman added.
Not all of the people released early will be re-incarcerated. Those who have been in the community without incident will get credit for that time. For around 20 former inmates, it will be back to prison cells and barbed wire. Officials say they could be making up anywhere from one to four years behind bars. Law enforcement officials from eight different counties are serving warrants to bring them back into the system.
"Our preeminent goal in all of this is public safety and officer safety, we want to protect our public and we want to protect our law enforcement," Bruning said.
As for those already in prison, more than 500 inmates had their discharge dates changed- some by more than 20 years. The most shocking case is an inmate who was scheduled for release in eight years, and will now be serving a life sentence.
Bruning and Heineman say one lawsuit has already been filed, and expect more.
"We have an obligation to carry out that sentence even though a mistake was made," Heineman said.
Bruning mentioned most of the criminals that were released early served time for drugs. A few were convicted of violent crimes.
Dept. of Correctional Services Director Mike Kenney says he takes full responsibility for the errors, and is working actively to assist Heineman and Bruning in fixing the problem.