Gov. Dave Heineman vows to hold accountable those Corrections officials who made the mistake that led to inmates being release prematurely from prison.
A miscalculation by the Department of Correctional Services led to the release of 306 inmates before they had served their time. Before it was caught, a majority of the inmates had served enough time in their communities to qualify for completion of their sentences. State officials have served warrants for others to return to prison and serve out their time.
“There was a mistake made. The individuals who made those mistakes, who are responsible, are going to be held accountable,” Heineman told reporters during a news conference on the subject.
State and local law enforcement officers have begun serving warrants on up to 25 inmates released prematurely from prison. Most of those inmates have between one and four years left on their sentence. Some have vowed to fight, perhaps serving civil lawsuits against the state.
The Omaha World Herald actually broke the story a couple of weeks ago in a special investigative piece. Most of the 306 released have been out long enough to receive the credit necessary for their sentences to be considered completed. A Supreme Court case states that any individual released early, who hasn’t committed a crime while out of prison, receives credit for the time served in their community. That total, according to the governor’s office, is 257 former inmates.
Three of the inmates released early have died. Five have successfully completed their parole.
Of the remaining former prisoners, some have returned to prison, some have qualified for the re-entry furlough program, one is moving through the process of being paroled, and up to 25 are being sought by law enforcement to return to confinement.
The Nebraska State Patrol leads the task force seeking those prisoners. Both state troopers and local law enforcement are serving the warrants.
Heineman says once the inmates return to prison, he expects Corrections to discipline those responsible.
“That’s the responsibility of the Department of Correctional Services. They made a mistake and we’re now correcting it,” according to Heineman. “And they better not make a mistake in the future.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]