Repair for glitch that released thousands of inmates too early was delayed 16 times

TUMWATER, Wash. -- The head of the Washington State Department of Corrections has apologized after a computer glitch mistakenly released thousands of prisoners back onto the streets too soon.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office will head the investigation and hope to answer exactly why it’s taken years to fix the problem.

The glitch released more than 3,000 inmates from jail too soon, and now one of them is on the run.

While the computer problem was first discovered back in 2012 –the critical fix never happened and at least 2 felons allegedly committed new crimes since being released.

“It’s a terrible mistake,” said Dan Pacholke, Secretary of the DOC. “It’s something that shouldn’t have happened.”

For Lindsay Hill, it’s a mistake that had deadly consequences. Her boyfriend, Robert Jackson, should have been behind bars serving time for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

But the DOC’s computer glitch mistakenly released Jackson earl and he is now accused of driving drunk and crashing Hill’s car. Police say Jackson fled the scene and left Hill to die.

Officers later arrested Jackson who is now charged with vehicular homicide.

Secretary Pacholke said he personally apologized to Lindsey’s mother this week.

“I mean, I just tried to offer my apology which is really difficult to do to a mother who’s just lost her child,” he said.

Jackson is one of 3,200 inmates wrongfully released since 2002. Officials blamed a computer glitch that incorrectly padded time for good behavior.

Pacholke said a pair of former federal prosecutors and the governor will head up the investigation to find out why a repair for the software glitch has been delayed 16 times.

“Having it go outside the DOC, it really makes it very clear that we’re not influencing the investigation or the outcome that’s found,” he said.

The state also says wants to find felon Daniel Morris; the glitch released him early as well. Morris is supposed to be in jail serving time for firing a gun at strangers but now officials said he’s on the run from police.

A nation-wide arrest warrant has since been issued for Morris.

The DOC said it hopes to have the computer glitch fixed by Jan 7. Until then all inmates bound for release will have their cases reviewed one at a time by a person.