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Target 13 investigates: DOC internal audit results

By Scott Harrison
Published On: May 15 2013 06:31:21 PM CDT

Internal probe focusing on inmates that were mistakenly released early from prison.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The Colorado Department of Corrections released preliminary results of an internal audit ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper after the March shooting death of DOC Executive Director Tom Clements.

The results, released Tuesday, discovered "possible issues" with the sentences of more than 2,500 inmates -- about a third of more than 8,000 inmates checked.  Five hundred of those cases received a second review, which found that 281 require further action by the state Department of Justice.

According to the results, sentences have been adjusted in 56 cases, and around 2,000 cases still await review.

DOC officials have not specified how many inmates were mistakenly released early, and how dangerous they may be to the public.  However, the preliminary results listed 14 crimes committed by those inmates -- most while they were already behind bars or otherwise in custody.

The in-prison crimes include first-and second-degree assault, assault during escape, escape, attempted escape, aiding escape, contraband, rioting and holding hostages.

Other crimes include possessing a weapon as a prior offender, stalking, violating a protection order or bail bond, and sex crimes with additional offenses.   

One of the former inmates, Evan Ebel, was released four years too early in Fremont County.  He's believed to have killed two people in March, including DOC Executive Director Tom Clements.  Ebel later died in a gun battle with Texas authorities.

Earlier, the DOC explained that the releases were due to an oversight that allowed inmates to serve multiple sentences concurrently (at the same time) instead of consecutively (one after the other).

The DOC plans to complete the preliminary audit by the end of the week, and complete the entire audit by the end of June.  The judicial review of inmate sentences, however, will take longer because of the multiple convictions, judges and judicial districts involved.

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