D.C. corrections officials said yesterday that more than 100 inmates were released early from District prisons and halfway houses Monday and yesterday without approval of the D.C. Parole Board under the emergency law that Mayor Marion Barry invoked last week to ease chronic prison crowding.
None of the 65 inmates released Monday, who were held in Lorton, the D.C. Jail and various halfway houses, was approved for early release by the Parole Board because they were serving their maximum sentences and did not fall under the board's jurisdiction.
Corrections officials made no public announcement of the release of the inmates Monday, and said they had not yet tabulated how many had been similarly released yesterday.
But department spokesman Edward D. Sargent said he believed the number for yesterday would prove to be about 40.
Barry is allowed to reduce the sentences of such inmates by 90 days or 10 percent, whichever is less. Only inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes are eligible to leave prison under the emergency release law. Generally, these prisoners either were denied parole or opted to serve their full sentences rather than be under parole supervision.
Corrections officials said last week that the "vast majority" of inmates to be released early would fall into the other eligible category -- nonviolent criminals whose minimum sentences Barry can reduce by 90 days, thus qualifying them for almost immediate consideration by the Parole Board.
Sargent said last night that corrections officials have identified 242 inmates who are eligible for early parole under the measure.
But only two inmates have been approved for early parole since the mayor declared a prison emergency on Friday, compared with the 100 or so released this week without having to go through the parole process.
Deputy Corrections Director Walter B. Ridley said that of the 65 inmates released Monday, 42 were from Lorton Reformatory and the D.C. Jail, and 23 prisoners came out of the city's halfway houses.
Of the 42 prison and jail inmates, 25 were serving time in Lorton's Occoquan II facility for misdemeanors, two were felons in Occoquan II and four were felons in Occoquan I. Nine women convicted of misdemeanors and two female felons in the D.C. Jail were among those released. There was no information last night on the prisoners released yesterday.
District officials emphasized that prisoners convicted of violent crimes -- including homicide, rape, assault with a dangerous weapon and armed robbery -- and those serving mandatory sentences on drug convictions will not qualify for early parole.
Corrections Director Hallem H. Williams Jr., who was out of town Monday and Tuesday, said Friday that he expected a total of about 350 inmates to be released early under the emergency plan.
Williams stressed that no inmates would leave prison "who would not have been released in days, weeks or a couple of months."
Department spokesman Sargent said the department would disclose the charges and sentences of all inmates eligible for early parole, including those already released this week. But he said the department will not release the names of the inmates.
Corrections sources said yesterday that certain prison staffs are shorthanded and "overwhelmed" by the 5,000 prison records that have to be screened and the number of inmates in the crowded facilities that have to be processed daily under the emergency measure.
Most of the overcrowding is at Lorton's three Occoquan facilities, which held 1,970 prisoners as of last week -- 689 more than the number permitted under an order by U.S. District Judge June L. Green.