DC To Release All Prisoners Immediately, For Fun?

Minor technocratic budget-filling adjustments have a strange way of presenting themselves

My my, the Washington Times sure knows how to market its minor scoops. A Thursday article on the newspaper's web site is headlined, "EXCLUSIVE: D.C.'s money saving plan: Free inmates." Quel horreur!

And the sub-headline: "Up to 80 percent could qualify to leave prison early." Eighty percent -- why that constitutes an overwhelming majority! What is this fraud Adrian Fenty thinking, releasing 80 percent of our inmates into the streets to rob and mug and kill people? Is this some dingbat idea he picked up on his secret tennis trip to Dubai?

Perhaps we should click on the full article for more information.

The city hopes to save $4.4 million in fiscal 2010 under the plan, which would reduce the prison population by 2 percent from its current daily average of 3,000 inmates.

Hey look at that, the 80 percent became 2 percent, right after we curiously clicked to read the full article. Who's the wise guy?

Current law permits sentenced inmates to earn up to five days off their sentences each month by completing specified academic and vocational programs. The new proposal would extend the program to pretrial inmates and allow them to earn time off simply by participating in the programs.

Officials said about 2,400 inmates would be eligible to receive good-time credits under the proposal. If each eligible inmate earned an average of five days of good time, it would reduce the average inmate population by about 65 people.

So many numbers, time for some back-of-the-envelope detective work ... 2,4000/4.4 million = .0005 ... 4.4 million/65 = 67,692 ... 2,400/3,000 = .8 ... 2010/-- OH YES, .8 is the same thing as 80 percent! So that's why the headlines made us believe 80 percent of District inmates were being freed immediately. Huh.

Because the real story is... weaker.

Jim Newell writes 100% EXCLUSIVES for Wonkette and IvyGate.

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