Legal Aid Announces “Time Saved” Campaign to Correct Inaccurate DOC Sentences that have Clients Spending Extra Days in Jail For September 2017, Legal Aid Saved Clients 341 Days and taxpayers $223,000

The Legal Aid Society, in conjunction with its Decarceration Project, announced a “Time Saved” campaign today to correct inaccurate sentencing calculations and illuminate how this problem continues to plague New Yorkers spending time behind bars.

These faulty sentences are a byproduct of a number of factors such as incorrect court commitment papers – documents sent to correction departments detailing indictment and sentencing information, and where correction departments fail to incorporate stays at mental health facilities as time served.

Through Sentencing Calculator software developed by Terence Davidson, a legal case handler in The Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project, attorneys input specific case sentencing information and reference that against a database of statutes, rules, and regulations in order to produce accurate release dates.

For September, 2017, The Legal Aid Society saved six clients 341 days, which saved taxpayers a total of $223,504. The savings are calculated based on figures provided by the City and State on the annual costs of incarceration.

The Legal Aid Society also assists other local defender organizations correct their clients’ sentences when resources permit.

“Time Saved” figures will be released on a monthly basis going forward.

“No one should have to suffer unnecessary time at Rikers Island or another correctional facility because of a bureaucratic error,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Any additional days incarcerated could have devastating consequences – especially with a jail system fraught with violence and abuse. Terence Davidson and the rest of our team remains committed to identifying and correcting erroneous sentence calculations for our clients.”

“The illegal detention of New Yorkers in City and State jails disproportionately impacts poor people of color and is driving mass incarceration,” said Joshua Norkin, the Project Organizer and staff attorney overseeing the Decarceration Project. “Make no mistake, these are people that are legally entitled to their release. If we are truly committed to reducing jail populations and closing Rikers Island we must first ensure that those who must be released can actually walk out of jail the day their sentence is finished. It is a practical, ethical and moral imperative that cannot be ignored.”