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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."

Washington Inmate Locked Back Up After Early Release Given Medical Furlough

Washington State Department of Corrections
Bobby Davis was mistakenly released from prison early because of a computer glitch. He was then required to turn himself back in just before Christmas. Now he's been re-released on a rare medical furlough.

A Washington prison inmate who was accidentally released early and then locked back up has been granted a rare medical furlough. Bobby Davis said his re-release from prison this week came as a welcome surprise.

Davis is one of the more than 3,000 Washington inmates who were let out of prison too soon because of a computer coding error. He was released in December, but then just before Christmas told to turn himself back in, which he did.

But then this week the prison gates sprung open again for Davis. He said a correctional sergeant came to him with this message:

“You’re going home, go sign your papers.”

Davis, who was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, was getting out again, this time because of his medical condition.

“To be honest with you I was totally shocked,” Davis said. “I didn’t believe it until I was actually being transported.”

The Department of Corrections even gave him a lift home.

“I’ve never heard of that ever happening,” Davis said.

Davis -- who walks with a cane -- said he’ll now be able to attend to several medical issues. A Corrections spokesman says Davis is one of five early release inmates who are being allowed to remain on the outside on medical furlough.

Davis’ sentence runs out at the end of this month. After that he’ll be on regular probation.

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."