New DOC audit numbers show 124 Colorado offenders wrongly sentenced

Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
POSTED: 11:13 AM MDT Jun 06, 2013    UPDATED: 06:46 PM MDT Jun 06, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

More than 120 Colorado offenders have been wrongly sentenced according to updated results from the Colorado Department of Corrections' case audit released Thursday.

The preliminary audit results show that 124 offenders were released early from prison, scheduled to be released early or had another kind of error in his/her sentence. That number has grown from May when the DOC identified 56 sentencing errors.

The audit was ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper after it was discovered that Evan Ebel, a parolee accused of murdering DOC Chief Tom Clements and Denver father Nate Leon, was released from prison four years early because of a sentencing error.

The audit is still underway. The DOC identified 8,607 cases that needed review, and currently, 1,663 of those still need more scrutiny.

DOC spokesperson Adrienne Jacobson said many of the 124 offenders impacted were already in custody and would have their sentenced adjusted. But others have already been released.

"If there are any who are out who need to be brought back in, I think we're fairly confident of their whereabouts and how to track them down," said Jacobson. "We're getting them brought back in just as soon as we can."

Jacobson said she did not know how many of the 124 offenders the DOC was looking for.

We asked Jacobson about concerns from the public that the judicial system failed.

"I think what I would say is both the judicial system and obviously the Department of Corrections, our number one goal is public safety," Jacobson said. "I think this audit just re-emphasizes our priority in keeping the public safe."

Jacobson also pointed to a new law intended to provide more clarification on court sentences.

The audit is expected to be finished in July. The DOC's Director of Parole Tim Hand remains on paid administrative leave. Besides Evan Ebel being released from prison four years too soon, it was discovered that he was not checked on by his parole officer for six days after he cut off his ankle monitor.