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Software Bug Keeping Hundreds In Arizona Prisons Beyond Release Dates

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prison cells locked up

Credit: Getty Images

Whistleblowers at the Arizona Department of Corrections say that hundreds of incarcerated people who should be eligible for release are being held in prison because inmate management software cannot interpret current sentencing laws.

Employees said they have been raising the issue internally for more than a year, but prison administrators have not acted to fix the software bug.

As of 2019, the department had spent more than $24 million contracting with an IT company to build and maintain the software program that is used to manage the inmate population in state prisons. One of the modules within the program, designed to calculate release dates for inmates, is presently unable to account for an amendment to state law that allows inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses to earn additional release credits upon the completion of programs in state prisons.

Sources say the software is not able to identify inmates who qualify for the programs, nor calculate their new release dates when they do.

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