By Brian Maass
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– A CBS4 investigation has learned that the Jefferson County Jail mistakenly set an inmate free two weeks ago– a month and a half before he was due to get out of jail.
“It’s very frustrating this is happening,” said Jacki Kelley, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
On Feb. 11, a CBS4 investigation revealed the Jeffco Jail mistakenly released the wrong Ron Chavez. An inmate named Ron A. Chavez was supposed to be freed, but instead jailers accidentally cut loose another inmate, Ron J. Chavez, skipping a number of steps that would have properly identified the inmate and kept him in jail. Ron J. Chavez was recaptured about five hours after his mistaken release.
CBS4 has learned the very next day, Feb. 12, the Jeffco Jail mistakenly released inmate Martin Ellis, who was serving a 180-day sentence for a restraining order violation. He was not supposed to be released until March 26. But jailers miscalculated how his sentence was supposed to be served, and released him six weeks too early.
According to Kelley, they learned of the mistake when Ellis’ victim contacted authorities to report he was out of jail even though he had much more time to serve. Kelley says deputies managed to contact Ellis after he got out and informed him of their mistake and asked him to return to the jail, which he did.
“Significant steps are being taken,” said Kelley, to insure this does not happen again.
Kelley said with 21,000 inmates processed through the jail every year, mistakes are bound to happen. But she said “serious steps are being taken” to try to prevent additional mistakes.
The department rep said the inmate services unit, which processes inmate releases, is having some duties taken away “so they have greater focus on what is very important.”
Kelley said taking away duties from the ISU will “Allow them to focus on these calculations. Time will tell if this is the fix.”