BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - For the second time in about a month, an inmate in the custody of Erie County was accidentally allowed to go free.
The inmate, 19-year-old Donavan Devost, was released when he should have been detained and the sheriff's office is again blaming a paperwork mixup. Devost had two sets of outstanding charges - one in Buffalo, and one in Alden.
He should have gone back to the Holding Center after an appearance in City Court, but Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said, "The transporting deputies were not aware of the charges from Alden, which was the reason that he was arrested."
Holding Center superintendent Robert Kock added, "Paperwork was not sent to the Buffalo City Courts, so they were not notified of the detainer, which is policy. That paperwork should have traveled with that inmate to court."
Erie County recently bought new Jail Management System software which, according to Howard, could help prevent such mistakes. Clerks in the town and city courts would enter the data once - and it would immediately be visible to deputies at the jails.
"Maybe having the courts directly enter the data won't cure 100 percent of our data entry [problems], but maybe it'll eliminate 30 percent or 70 percent. To have less people involved in the entering of that data, certainly eliminates - like multiple hand-offs of a football. Each one has an increased opportunity to fumble. And it's the same for us," explained Sheriff Howard.
But the license on the old software system hasn't run out yet, so the county hasn't authorized use of the new one. Frustrating to Sheriff Howard, who was grilled by legislators last month, after the first accidental release.
Howard argued, "So, it's like saying, you're a part of the problem. Stop criticizing, and pick up your part of this."
The sheriff's office is doing an internal investigation of this latest mistaken release.
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