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  • An inmate stands in his cell at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana, California.

    An inmate stands in his cell at the Orange County jail in Santa Ana, California. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 May 2016

A lawsuit by a prisoner who was kept in jail longer than he should have spurred an investigation into similar cases by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Over 150 prisoners were kept in prison past their scheduled release dates by the U.S.’s federal Bureau of Prisons, as relayed in a report published this month by the U.S. Department of Justice, Gawker reported.

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The investigation was looked into after a 2014 lawsuit by a prisoner who ended up serving an extra 13 months in jail, the news outlet added Tuesday. The staff error in this case was that officials had failed to check his online court records in which a judge had significantly shortened his sentence.

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The inmate eventually settled for US0$175,000. The report estimates these late releases have cost the government over a million dollars in legal costs.

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Reuters reported that while the 152 prisoners released later than they should have are a small portion of the 462,000 inmates freed between 2009 and 2014, the report also identifies more than 4,000 untimely releases that are not due to staff error.

During this same time period, five federal inmates were released early because of staff errors, however, according to the report, none of them were rearrested.
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