Legal Aid Releases “Time Saved” Data for October on Inaccurate DOC Sentences That Has Clients Spending Extra Days in Jail For October 2017, Legal Aid Saved Clients 561 Days and taxpayers $379,797

The Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project released “Time Saved” numbers today for October, 2017, as part of the organization’s campaign to correct inaccurate sentencing calculations and illuminate how this problems 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 October, 2017, The Legal Aid Society saved 5 clients 561 days, which saved taxpayers a total of $379,797. The savings are calculated based on figures provided by the City and State on the annual costs of incarceration.

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

“New Yorkers are still spending needless time behind bars due to paperwork screw ups and bureaucratic errors,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “While we’re glad to have corrected these five clients’ sentences, it’s still disconcerting because we believe this is a widespread and unchecked problem costing individuals unwarranted incarceration.”

“Decarceration at Rikers Island will never happen if DOC continues to bumble sentence calculations and has our clients and others locked up when they shouldn’t be,” said Josh Norkin, Project Coordinator of the Decarceration Project at The Legal Aid Society. “An extra day on Rikers or at another DOC facility – jails replete with violence and inmate abuse – could hold traumatic consequences. We’ll continue to correct sentences through our “Time Saved” campaign and explore possible legislative options with our partners at the City Council on how to fully solve these problems.”

"Individuals who have completed their sentence at Rikers or any other correctional facility must be released, without delay. It is an appalling reality today that New Yorkers are unnecessarily incarcerated because of paperwork errors or bureaucratic malpractice. I look forward to working with Legal Aid and my colleagues in the City Council to find solutions to remedy this costly and unjust problem,” Council Member Rory I. Lancman, chair of the Committee on Courts & Legal Services.