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California Illegally Dumps Parole Records

by W. Wisely

California Department of Corrections prisoncrats were caught illegally dumping confidential documents about parolees in a dumpster near the new Metreon entertainment center in San Francisco, according to Michael Taylor's June 19, 1999 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Some papers, including arrest reports, and new addresses for parolees, were scattered among crowds of tourists by a strong wind.

One file was a week-old police teletype "notice of arrest." The notice mentioned detailed personal and confidential information, including birth date, and prison identification numbers, for a parolee named Eric. Kenny, according to another of the thousands of documents discarded against the department's regulations, had a parole violation for robbing an adult bookstore and testing positive for cocaine. Ronald's residence verification gave away his current address, and Neal had absconded on parole the documents showed, according to the Chronicle.

The files were dumped by employees at the department's Parole and Community Services Division. That division, which coordinates parole information, was in the process of moving, so staff just lightened the load. "Jesus Christ," Steve Schroeder, the division's regional manager, told the Chronicle, when he learned of the document dumping, "I hate to hear that."

Schroeder said many of the confidential files "are supposed to go with the parole agents." Files more than 90 days old are slated for shredding by a salvage company. He promised an investigation and ordered San Francisco staff to empty the dumpster. Steve Fama, an attorney with the Prison Law Office, said dumping the files "sounds, at best, sloppy and perhaps criminal."

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