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You had one job: Clerical error springs 10 South Carolina inmates free

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (CIRCA via WACH) -- Ten inmates from the South Carolina Department of Corrections were released earlier than they should have been. Officials with the agency said it was a clerical mistake and too much paperwork was involved.

Senator Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) sits on the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee. Right now she said three inmates are awaiting judicial processing that could put them back behind bars.

“Is it bad? Yes, it's bad but you know we have updated the system since then," she said. "There used to be lots of blocks that you would check, are they an 85 percenter or 100 percenter,” Shealy said. "There are 9,000-10,000 inmates released every year, and you're going to have human error.

"Now is that an excuse? No, that’s an explanation of what happened.”

These involved inmates were up for release after serving 85 percent of their sentence. Correction officials said after finding the error they notified the courts and victims immediately.

Sheally said new procedures are now in place to avoid future errors and her committee and the corrections department are focused on prison reform.

“The procedures are better, they've cut down on the amount of paperwork, they've made it easier for the employees, they've made it easier for them to understand,” Shealy said. “We're less antiquated than we were 10-12 years ago, you know you had several directors in that period of time too so you have to look, this didn’t just happen you know in the last 2 or 3 years, this has been over a period of 10 years, 12 years.”

According to officials, most inmates were serving time for drug-related convictions. The average length of time they had left to serve was around 2 1/2 years.

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