Former prisoner files suit, says kept year beyond sentence - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former prisoner files suit, says kept year beyond sentence


LAKE MILLS (WKOW) -- 51-year old Robin Gavinski of Lake Mills remembers the day last year when he was released from prison. But his memory of what is normally an anticipated event for an offender is pained by the realization of what he says was spending more than a year behind bars beyond what his sentence required.

"Maybe I'm seeing my second grandchild be born," Gavinski tells 27 News of what he missed because his lack of liberty.

Gavinski has filed a Dane County lawsuit against state officials over what he says was 417 additional days of incarceration beyond his sentence. State corrections department spokesperson Jackie Guthrie declines comment, citing the pending legal action.

Gavinski began this prison term in 2004. His time behind bars was the product of several convictions in separate cases, including burglary, a felon in possession of a firearm and car theft.

Gavinski says in August 2012, as he initiated a request for early release from his sentence, corrections officials reviewed his situation, determined a mistake had been made with the state's original sentence computation, and released him the next day.

Gavinski says corrections officials flagged the problem with the time of his prison term to two of his sentences being treated as consecutive sentences, instead of as concurrent.

Gavinski tells 27 News he tracked his prison term carefully, but had no reason to doubt the state corrections department original calculation when he started his sentence, especially because his incarceration covered adjudications over several years. 

Gavinski says he's filed the lawsuit to receive " fair compensation" for his time improperly in prison, and to put state officials on notice to guard against this happening to another, future inmate.

Gavinski's claim of being incarcerated beyond his required time was first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Gavinski is working, and says he's rebuilding his life. He says he's focused on the future, realizing what happened can only drag him down, if he dwells on it.

"I did lose a year, lose a year of freedom," Gavinski tells 27 News. "I can't go back and change that."


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