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Inmate Released Early By Accident Says She’ll Turn Herself In

May 17, 1985

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A 28-year-old woman who was accidentally released from prison two years early says she considered running at first, but has decided to turn herself in.

″I don’t want to be angry or bitter,″ Patricia Carr said Thursday. ″I don’t want to feel mean about anybody. But it seems so unfair to me.″

Ms. Carr was paroled by mistake Dec. 31 from the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville after a mixup with records from the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s office, said Gretchen Faulstich, executive director of the state Parole Board.

She had served 51/2 months of sentences totaling seven years for convictions in 1981 and 1982 in Knoxville for second-degree burglary, forgery, altering a drug prescription and carrying a concealed weapon, officials said.

″I wanted to run at first, when I heard I was going to have to go back in,″ she said. ″But I would disappoint so many people. So many people have done things for me and are depending on me to do good. So I’ll turn myself in.″

She said she plans to surrender to Correction Department officials on Monday.

Lionel Barrett Jr., Ms. Carr’s attorney, said he will file a request for a clemency hearing when she returns to prison.

″She got out thinking all of this was behind her,″ Barrett said. ″She was determined to make good and she did very, very well on the outside.″

Ms. Faulstich said the original judgment in Ms. Carr’s case ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, but the Knox County records showed the terms were to run concurrently. The mistake was discovered last month, she said.

Ms. Carr will be eligible for parole Jan. 7, 1987, but may be released as early as January 1986 under the state’s early parole program to reduce prison overcrowding, Ms. Faulstich said.

″The law doesn’t provide the option of freeing allegedly reformed people who are not eligible for parole,″ she said.

″The board has only the power to consider those who are eligible. She’s not eligible for parole, so the board has no authority. That’s the law.″

Ms. Carr said she has overcome a drug habit that led to her troubles.

″I haven’t messed up a bit. I’ve got a job. I was getting ready to buy a car,″ she said.

She has been living in Hermitage and has been working for about three months at a Shoney’s restaurant there.

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