'Glitch' keeps Ind. inmate in jail 2 months past sentence, others possibly affected
William Davis Jr., who recently received a $20K settlement in the case, reportedly never alerted jail staff to the discrepancy
By Marek Mazurek
South Bend Tribune, Ind.
SOUTH BEND — What officials describe as a "software glitch," kept at least two inmates in the St. Joseph County Jail longer than their sentences required in 2019.
One of those two, a man who was in jail two months longer than he should have been, received a $20,000 settlement from the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners last month.
The other affected inmate, who was incarcerated in early 2019, was kept two days past his sentence, according to Troy Warner, an attorney for the St. Joseph County Police Department.
Warner said the jail discovered the problem in December 2019 and have since switched to a different method of keeping track of inmate sentences. Jail staff don't know when the issue started, though some booking staffers first began a few years ago to track release dates with the software blamed for the problem.
William Davis Jr., the recipient of the $20,000 settlement, was kept in the county jail 60 days longer than his sentence required.
Davis, 24, pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor in April of 2019. He was sentenced to one year in jail and released in December of that year after 240 days served, according to jail and court records. He should has served only 180 days, as Indiana sentencing rules give most inmates convicted of low-level felonies one extra day of jail credit for each day served.
The Tribune was not successful reaching Davis. Anthony Rose, an attorney who represented Davis in the settlement, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
A copy of the settlement, which was unanimously approved by the county commissioners, provided to The Tribune stipulates the county does not admit liability in the incident.
Warner said jail staff are aware of only two inmates who were kept longer than their sentences, but theoretically the problem could have affected the release dates of other inmates.
Jail staff double-checked the release dates of every inmate in the jail in December 2019 and found no discrepancies. Dating back, however, it's possible others were affected. Warner said most inmates are "very vocal" about communicating their release dates with jail staff and any other discrepancies were likely caught before an inmate was kept past their sentence.
Warner said Davis never complained or alerted jail staff he had been incarcerated past his sentence. Jail staff became aware of the system's error in December 2019, after Davis was released, and that same month switched to a new system to calculate inmates' sentences.
"There was an old calculator in our JailTracker system, that's the system we used to keep inmate information, court dates, charges," Warner said. "That calculator would occasionally miscalculate, or the inmate would complain and it would get caught that way."
Warner said jail staff used to enter an inmate's sentence into the JailTracker software system which would automatically calculate the inmate's release date. Now, jail staff calculate the release date for inmates using a separate online date counter and enter the release date in the JailTracker software manually.
"It's not always as simple as calculating the time one year from today," Warner said. "There's credit time and transfers and we take the sentencing abstract from the judge."
The jail now double checks its software against the Department of Corrections' calculator, as well.
When the settlement was discussed at a St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners meeting in June, county attorney Pete Agostino said the parties negotiated down to $20,000 from Davis' starting price of over $120,000.
At the meeting, Agostino said he is negotiating another case involving the same "glitch," though it is unclear if those negotiations involve the inmate Warner mentioned. Agostino did not immediately respond to questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the second settlement negotiation.
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