Inmate freed by mistake sent back to prison

October 12, 1990|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Evening Sun Staff

A state prison inmate, who enjoyed six months of freedom because state prison officials miscalculated his sentence and let him go too soon, is back behind bars.

Stephen Albert Brown, 40, who had been serving time for drug possession, was re-arrested last week at his parole office in Forestville in Prince George's County, Division of Correction spokesman Greg Shipley said today.

He is now being held at the minimum-security Brock Bridge Correctional Facility in Jessup, where he will stay until his sentence expires Nov. 21, Shipley said.

"We have no record of any violations or any problems during his time out, and that time will be credited to him obviously," Shipley said.

"This was obviously a mistake in the calculation of his sentence, and it was not any kind of escape. But he is still to be under our jurisdiction until November."

Brown is the first inmate found to have been released early due to miscalculation of his sentence since prison officials began rechecking their records in the wake of John F. Thanos' release.

Thanos, 41, is accused of murdering three people after his premature release last April from the Eastern Corrections Institution in Somerset County.

Prison officials discovered Thanos had been released 543 days too early because of an error in applying his good-time credits.

A state prison clerk was suspended for his role in Thanos' release.

Officials "are continuing to check" sentencing records for similar errors, Shipley said. "They are going back over and over these records."

Brown's case, he said, "is one they found during those checks, the only one."

Correction officials have also admitted, however, that a clerical error led to the premature release of a credit-card crook last July. That error was discovered after the freed inmate, Virginia Rorie, was charged in Baltimore with fatally stabbing an elderly man and trying to kill an elderly woman.

Three correction employees face disciplinary action in connection with that error.

Brown was sentenced in Prince George's County in March 1984 to 10 years in prison on a heroin possession charge. He also was given a concurrent two-year term for possession of marijuana, Shipley said.

He was scheduled to get out of prison Nov. 21, but, because of a misapplication of good-time credits earned during a previous prison sentence, he was mistakenly released from the Sykesville Central Laundry Facility on April 10.

Brown reportedly had been living quietly with family members for six months and working in construction when, on Oct. 3, officials at the Division of Correction headquarters discovered the error and sought to return him to prison.

He was apprehended as he reported for a scheduled appointment with his parole and probation agent.

He was taken initially to the medium-security Maryland House of Correction, and later transferred to minimum security at Brock Bridge.

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