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Report: faulty parole dates for thousands of Colorado prisoners

It's one thing when flawed calculations lead to a lost poker hand or a bit of incorrect tallying in a check book.

And it's quite another when they wrongly deny a locked-up human being years of freedom to which he or she is entitled.

Apparently, number crunchers and statisticians at the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) are in dire need of remedial training concerning their appraisals of how long select state inmates locked up for drug crimes and other criminal offenses should be incarcerated prior to being eligible for parole.

Reportedly, they have been notice for years, states a recent media report, "that their approach to time computation was improper, but have continued to use a method that makes sentences longer than they should be."

How justifiably angered and even stunned should that make affected prisoners, as well as defense attorneys across Colorado who worked diligently on their cases, making best-faith efforts to achieve optimal outcomes?

A most sobering estimate posits that nearly 3,000 inmates in the state who are still behind bars might have already served months or years beyond what relevant sentencing statutes call for.

And that flatly makes them "incarcerated illegally" presently, states one commentator and critic of the DOC's sentencing approach, which was blasted recently in two rulings issued by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Sentencing officials are now responding to the criticisms, stating that they are trying to accurately identify all affected inmates and schedule them for past-due parole hearings.

That will obviously take some time, which denies justice to an even greater degree for those who have already been harmed by human error leading to improper computations.

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