Prison agrees to release paroled inmate after ACLU sues

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island prison officials have agreed to set free an inmate recently granted parole but never released.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island said Friday that the state Department of Corrections agreed to release Robert McKinney in a stipulation filed in state Superior Court in Providence.

McKinney was sentenced in 1997 to life in prison for the 1995 shooting death of John Carpenter in Providence.

He was eligible for parole after about 23 years, and the state Parole Board voted unanimously to grant him parole last May.

He was set to be released last December but the corrections department refused to free him, saying it had changed how parole eligibility is calculated, according to the ACLU.

The civil rights group said the change would have meant McKinney would have to serve at least another three years in prison.

It argued McKinney was entitled to immediate release because the department had never notified McKinney or the parole board of the change.

The ACLU also argued that McKinney's continued imprisonment deprived him of due process and qualified as cruel and unusual punishment.