Inmate alerts jail employees to mix-up with release date, still released early

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – An inmate at a jail in Virginia was released early by mistake, even though he alerted jail workers to the mix up.

James Lee was supposed to get out of the Newport News Jail on March 28. Instead, his wife got the call on Monday that he was getting out of jail.

“I said, ‘Babe, I’m excited. I’m not putting too much pressure on you, but you told them that your release date was the 28th, right?” Denise Lee said.

Lee says that James told deputies there must be a mistake.

“He said, ‘Am I going to get into trouble because I am being released?’ They said, ‘You aren’t releasing yourself. We are releasing you because we know what we are doing,” she said.

The sheriff says a clerk didn’t see the updated release date in the computer, which led to the mix up.

“Mr. Lee was released March 14, 2016, as scheduled, after being transferred from the Department of Corrections . Because of an infraction prior to coming here, the DOC revoked 14 days of “good time” it had given him for good behavior. Due to the infraction, that changed his release date to March 28, 2016. The classification clerk did not see the updated calculation and Mr. Lee was released based on his ‘good time’ calculation. Mr. lee was notified and he returned to serve the remaining 14 days,” Sheriff Gabe Morgan said in a statement to WAVY.

Lee was contacted by the jail, and he immediately returned.

Lee was serving a two-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.