As many as 2,000 inmates in state prisons could have their sentences lengthened after a review of how sentences are calculated.
State Corrections Director Scott Frakes said today reforms to how the department calculates “enhanced good time” discovered errors in a number of prison sentence calculations.
“Ahead of the sentencing automation upgrades projected for completion later this year, the department is manually reviewing approximately 2,000 sentences that may be impacted,” Frakes said during a news conference in Lincoln. “The maximum adjusted increase that an individual sentence could receive after this review is approximately four months.”
Inmates can shorten their stay in prison for good behavior, as much as three days per month.
Frakes said these errors were simply miscalculations made by the department which are being corrected in the automation process.
Earlier, under a different administration, more than one thousand sentences were miscalculated because the department ignored state law and Supreme Court rulings, leading to the premature release of hundreds of inmates.
Frakes outlined four changes to how the department calculates enhanced good time credits. The department will verify whether the inmate has been incarcerated for an entire 12-month period before receiving credits. Inmates sentenced under the mandatory minimum law will have to serve their mandatory time in prison before they can earn enhanced good time. Automation will ensure inmates complete 12 full months free of misconduct before receiving credits. Inmates serving a prior sentence who received a concurrent sentence after passage of LB 191 in the 2011 legislative session will not qualify for enhanced good time until they begin serving the new sentence.
Frakes said work to automate sentence calculations uncovered mistakes made by the department in the past when staff members raised questions about whether past practices were correct.
“This is a good example of how a process is helping us identify things that need to be done differently to ensure that we’re in full compliance,” Frakes stated. “At the same time, every day I’ve got people looking at security practices, and classification practices; HR practices.”
In answer to a question, Frakes said some prisoners could possibly have their sentences shortened.
“There may be some situations where people didn’t all the credits they’re entitled to,” Frakes said. “So, that will be part of the review.”
AUDIO: State Corrections Dir. Scott Frakes opens news conference on prison sentence calculations. [6:30]