Published on: Saturday, March 19, 2022

The government agency that oversees some of the oldest and sickest people in federal prison has a problem: it has been undercounting the number of prisoners under its jurisdiction (article available here).

The U.S. Parole Commission's miscounting came to light when self-described math wonk and law professor noticed something strange this year as he read an annual report from the government.

The commission was supposed to go out of business in 1992. But Congress continues to extend its mandate every year, even though the panel that once had five members making decisions about federal parole release now only has two.

In a written statement, the Parole Commission told NPR it has changed the way they count these so-called "old law" prisoners to make it more accurate.

The commission said it expects the number of old law prisoners under its control will be zero by 2038, when it factors in parole releases and deaths by natural causes.