Is It So Difficult To Check When A Prisoner Should Be Released?

from the seems-pretty-straightforward dept

One of the ongoing worries about people relying more and more on computers is that, in doing so, they will sometimes let the computer's judgment replace their own common sense. The computer is right so often, that people stop checking to make sure it's right. John submitted this story noting that a "computer glitch" let certain prisoners out early from state prisons in Michigan. The article is a bit poorly written, so it's not clear what the actual "glitch" was -- but what's more concerning is why no one is double-checking these things. It seems that people are just assuming that the computer must always be right. How hard would it be for someone to take what the computer says and match it up with a file on the prisoner's release date? As for the fact that the computer also let a few prisoners out late, did the prisoners in question complain that their release date had come and gone?
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  1. identicon
    dave, 24 Oct 2005 @ 7:14am

    Release Date Calculation

    If we relied on humans to double check release dates we'd have to be teaching advanced legal comprehension and advanced algebra to prison officials in charge of release. I'm not against that, but my 4+ years working on prison information systems in 5 different states has left my head spinning due to the myriad of methods for release date calculation. Releasing prisoners before their release date is never good. But coding rules to account for each and every move the state legislature makes, is not child's play.

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