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Expert recommends 26 changes to fix mistaken inmate releases

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INDIANAPOLIS (September 21, 2014) -- An outside expert has recommended more than two dozen changes to the way the Marion County Jail tracks inmates to eliminate the potential for inadvertent releases from custody.

Dr. Jon Padfield of Proffer Brainchild applied the Six Sygma analysis process to determine why ten offenders have been cut loose by mistake this year.

"We started looking at what happens from when an officer brings someone in for processing, how they move through the court and then when the order is given to release how that order is carried out," said Padfield. "We started looking at where there are bottlenecks, where there's duplicate effort going on."

With the approval of the Indiana Supreme Court, Marion County adopted the Odyssey case management system in June at the same time the sheriff was adopting a new Offender Management System to internally track inmates inside the corrections process.

"We did have some mistaken releases and some erroneous releases," said Col. Louie Dezelan. "We've had ten in the last year. Five of which we think were clerk errors on our part, five of which we think were situations where all of the information we needed wasn't communicated to us. In part that was because of the computer systems and in part because of so many courts having to deal with so many people."

Dezelan said the jail's record for mistaken releases in 2014 is comparable to years past.

"The people in our inmate records, they make more than 63,000 of these decisions every year. This year we had ten where there were errors. That's a minuscule number."

Padfield oversaw two days of analysis with stakeholders from throughout the Marion County criminal justice community, including the courts, the prosecutor, the public defender and the city's information technology office.

Though his review targeted issues inside the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Padfield recommended all the agencies undertake a similar analysis.

"There are other discussions that came up during the course of the days that I was working here," said Padfield. "From conversations that I heard in the room I believe there are other issues but I'm not in a position where I can elaborate on that.

"I believe there are many other areas that could benefit from doing the process mapping like we did on September 2nd and 3rd, taking an end-to-end look at the processes."

Investigators have told FOX59 News they are frustrated that full criminal histories have not transferred over from previous systems to Odyssey, leaving detectives and courts unaware of a suspect's past involvement.

Some of the 26 recommendations include a reduction in paperwork or the redundancy of multiple advisements regarding an offender's case status.

While Sheriff John Layton is considering some policy changes to curb inadvertent or delayed releases, some recommendations are being implemented immediately and others are slated to go into effect Oct. 1.