State looks into prisoners mistakenly released

Mistake release of prisoners 'public safety issue'


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Less than a month after two killers were fraudulently released from a Florida prison, lawmakers are now demanding answers and looking to see if more inmates have been released by mistake.

"It sounds like a big mistake," said James Hahl. "It's just not right."

Now, lawmakers like Sen. Rob Bradley want answers behind the big mistake.

"I will tell you one thing -- it is embarrassing for all of those who were involved, because it's unacceptable," said Bradley.

Monday afternoon officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Clerk of Courts and Department of Corrections were meeting with lawmakers. Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said they are working to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We've got to make sure that we're all working collectively together, because ultimately, this was a public safety issue," Crews said.

DOC has 40 people across Florida looking to make sure there are not any other fraudulent escape cases. After the release, DOC enacted a new rule to make sure felons do not wrongfully walk away from state prisons.

"Before we release any inmate, we will ask the judge to authenticate that order was valid," said Crews.

Several hearings are scheduled this week. Lawmakers say they're going to keep asking the tough questions.

"We in the Florida Senate are particularly outraged about what occurred, and that is why we're having these hearings," Bradley said.

Lawmakers say after the meetings they will be able to gauge what all needs to be enacted to prevent a similar situation.

The Clerk of Courts is also reviewing their processes, and FDLE is still investigating the wrongful release from October.