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$10M database system underway at 201 Poplar after convict wrongly released

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201 Poplar is on the verge of a massive overhaul that will change the way the criminal justice system operates. County officials say it will improve public safety. 201 Poplar is on the verge of a massive overhaul that will change the way the criminal justice system operates. County officials say it will improve public safety.
Case in point: Dearick Stokes. He is convicted of murder and while awaiting transfer to state prison, Stokes was released from the Shelby County Jail by mistake by 2010. Case in point: Dearick Stokes. He is convicted of murder and while awaiting transfer to state prison, Stokes was released from the Shelby County Jail by mistake by 2010.

(WMC-TV) - Officials mistakenly set a convicted murderer free from 201 Poplar. Deputies were able to get him back in custody, but the incident sparked some major changes.

201 Poplar is on the verge of a massive overhaul that will change the way the criminal justice system operates. County officials say it will improve public safety.

General sessions, criminal court and the county jail working on different computer systems is an inefficient way to manage the jail, according to the Shelby County Mayor.

Case in point: Dearick Stokes. He is convicted of murder and while awaiting transfer to state prison, Stokes was released from the Shelby County Jail by mistake by 2010.

The embarrassing mistake was in part the result of the CJC's conflicting computer systems, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Officer.

Stokes was caught within the week, but then-sheriff, now-mayor Mark Luttrell has been pushing for change ever since.

"You've probably got 30 to 40 offices that will put hands on a case before it's fully adjudicated, and each one of those offices has a unique role to play and each one of those offices does it differently. So it's vitally important that we try to get an information technology system across county government that could coordinate that complexity and get it streamlined," said Luttrell.

It's the largest IT project ever in Shelby County. It took four years of planning and $8 million so far. The contractors started the switch this week, a project that will take another 18 months and more money.

"We can avoid these erroneous releases from jail," said Luttrell, who believe the process is worth the price. "We're talking about a little over $10 million will be spent, but when you're talking about public safety we've got to ensure that our systems are working efficiently."

County officials say it will save money in the long run. They expect to eliminate jobs through attrition because a huge chunk of data-entry work will not have to be duplicated.

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