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Prison time reduced for former EPISD Superintendent
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- The judge who sentenced a former El Paso Independent School District superintendent for his part in the districts cheating scandal said he doesn't agree with a recent decision to shorten the man's prison sentence.
Officials said Lorenzo Garcia will be released from prison nearly a year early because of a program he completed while in prison. Garcia was originally sentenced to 3 years in prison.
It's a decision that has many parents confused and frustrated.
"I'm very angry. I'm very disappointed. More than angry, I'm very disappointed," said Chuchui Maynez, a Bowie High School students mother.
Maynez said she thought Garcia received too short of a sentence in the first place.
"He deserves more," said Maynez.
She said reducing his prison time isn't fair to the hundreds of children he hurt.
"Where's justice? I don't see justice," said Maynez.
How early Garcia gets out is ultimately up to officials at the Bureau of Prisons.
"Federal statute does allow for inmates who successfully complete the inpatient residential drug program to be given up to a year off their sentence," said Chris Burke, spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons.
It's a program trial Judge David Briones recommended Garcia take while in prison. During sentencing, however, Briones did make a recommendation.
"The judgment that I issued recommended that he not get any credit for it," said Briones.
Briones said the crime was too serious.
Last year, Garcia pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with test rigging. He also pleaded guilty to giving a $450,000 no-bid contract for school materials to one of his mistresses.
When asked why the Bureau of Prisons isn't following the judge's recommendation, Burke said: "We wouldn't comment specifically why a particular inmate is getting out early."
For any student bothered by the news, Maynez said she has some words of advice.
"Not to give up. To show Garcia that they can be better -- better than him," said Maynez.
Along with prison time, Garcia was sentenced to pay $180,000 in restitution. Once Garcia is released from prison, which is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2014, he will face three years of supervised release.