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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

'Grinch Stole Christmas' Says Wife Of Released Inmate Returned To Prison

Thomas Hawk
Flickr -

The state of Washington is rounding up former prison inmates who were accidentally released early because of a computer glitch.

Karen Weidner was looking forward to Christmas 2015. After four years behind bars for assault with a deadly weapon, her husband was getting out.

Credit Washington Department of Corrections
Washington Department of Corrections
Bobby Davis was released from prison on December 10, but has returned to prison.

“I had planned a really nice Christmas for my husband since he was coming home,” she said.

She picked him up on December 10. But this week he got a phone call.

“Bob started crying and said ‘you must be kidding,’” she said.

It was the Washington Department of Corrections saying there’d been a mistake. He had another 40 days on his sentence and needed to come back.

“So we opened our gifts over tears the night before we had to take him in,” Weidner said.

The next morning Weidner dropped her husband off at the local Community Corrections office.

“And they took him from me and put him in cuffs and put him in the car and took him back to Monroe,” she said.

Weidner said her husband shouldn’t have to pay for a mistake the state made in calculating his sentence.

“Yes, I would say the Grinch stole the Christmas,” she said.

Most inmates who were let out early won’t be re-arrested. Only those who haven’t been out long enough to earn credit for the days still left on their sentences.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."