Review of "Good Time" Prison Sentences Finds 1,242 with Errors

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A review of Nebraska prison sentences has found that nearly one in four inmates received sentences that were too short or too long because of errors in how "good time" credit was applied.

The Department of Correctional Services said Tuesday that credits were not appropriately applied for 1,242 of the 5,258 inmates who qualified for the credit.

Corrections officials say 518 of those affected were not awarded credits they had earned, while 724 received credits in error. Of the 724, there were 446 that were released early, and six of those committed a crime during the time they would have been incarcerated. See Attached documents to see the names of those inmates.

Director Scott Frakes announced the review in June to clear up lingering problems with the department's procedures. Frakes says the prisons now use software to verify sentences.

According to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, the following issues have been corrected within the automated application of enhanced good time credits:

1. Location History Verification: The previous system did not determine if the entire twelve month period was spent incarcerated as required by statute. Consequently, some individuals received credits to which they were not entitled. The automated system ensures that individuals are incarcerated for the entire period before receiving the credit.

2. Concurrent Sentence Verification - Individuals who were incarcerated on a prior sentence and received a concurrent sentence after the passage of LB 191 were awarded LB 191 credits prior to serving twelve months of time on the concurrent sentence. Automation now ensures individuals will serve a full 12 months of time on the new sentence prior to receiving credits.

3. Mandatory Minimum Verification: The system did not check to see if the individual is serving the mandatory minimum portion of his/her sentence when determining if the credit should be awarded. The system did verify the tentative release date was not below the mandatory minimum date and individuals had served their mandatory minimum as required by law. Automation now ensures that individuals do not receive enhanced good time credits while serving their mandatory minimum sentence.

4. Good Behavior Verification: In the past, individuals who were found guilty of four Class III misconduct reports within a twelve-month period were allowed to earn enhanced good time credits after one of the four Class III misconduct reports fell outside the 12-month misconduct-free period of incarceration. Automation now verifies that individuals complete a 12-month misconduct free period of incarceration before receiving credits.