When he was released from prison last spring after serving time on drug charges, Stephen A. Brown did everything the correction system asked of him.
He got a job with a construction company. He checked in regularly with his probation officer. He seemed to be adjusting.
But the 40-year-old Suitland man was sent back to prison last week after Maryland correction officials discovered that they had made a mistake when they let him go in April. He should not have been released until November, officials said yesterday.
The case is the third in recent months in which the Division of Correction has acknowledged releasing a prisoner prematurely. In the other two, the former inmates have been charged with murders committed on dates when they should have been behind bars.
Brown, however, is not accused of any wrongdoing in the months since his release April 10. "He was holding down a job. He was adjusting well. His agent had no problems with him," said Susan Kaskie, a spokeswoman for the Division of Parole and Probation.
Brown was arrested without incident on Oct. 3 when he arrived for a routine meeting with his probation officer in Forestville, officials said. He was first sent to the House of Correction in Jessup but was transferred this week to the minimum-security Brockbridge Correctional Facility.
Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a Division of Correction spokesman, said Brown's release in April was the result of mistake similar to that made in the case of John F. Thanos, the man charged with murdering three people after his early release. So-called "good time" credits earned by Brown during a previous stint in prison were mistakenly applied to his current sentence, Sergeant Shipley said.
Brown was released from prison in 1982 after serving most of a 12-year sentence for drug distribution. But he was arrested in 1983 for possession of heroin and marijuana and was sentenced to 10 years.
Brown had served nearly 6 1/2 years when prison officials at the Central Laundry Facility in Sykesville released him in April. But during a review of release records after the discovery of the Thanos error, officials realized that Brown should not have been freed until November, Sergeant Shipley said.
He said that no time will be added to Brown's sentence and that he is scheduled for release Nov. 21.
Asked about the decision to send Brown back to prison when he apparently was doing well, Sergeant Shipley said, "He still owed time. And he was brought back to serve the remainder of that time."