According to documents obtained by the Daily News, the New York City Department of Correction has erroneously released at least 23 inmates since 2009. Most were rearrested in a timely fashion, but at least one, Sidney Bannister, 44, has remained free since 2012.
While the DOC noted that the number of errors equal less than half of one percent of all releases in the time period, the scandal-plagued agency admitted that “any erroneous release is unacceptable.” During the period in question, “80,000 to 90,000 inmates exited city jails each year,” the paper reported.
How does something like this happen? The Daily News attributes it to clerical errors, inmates with the same name getting mixed up, and a few prisoners can even scam their way out. But the DOC claimed that “in most of these cases the inmates should have been transferred to another jurisdiction following their incarceration with DOC.”