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California governor stops destruction of sex-crime parolee records

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  1. Freedom of Information
California's governor ordered state corrections officials on Tuesday to stop destroying parole files for sex offenders, The Sacramento Bee reported.…

California’s governor ordered state corrections officials on Tuesday to stop destroying parole files for sex offenders, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Prior to the order, the state corrections department routinely destroyed sex offenders’ files one year after being discharged from parole.

"The current practice of not keeping information on sex offenders in California is unacceptable," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued Tuesday. "It is in the best interest of public safety to retain all information on these individuals and to make as much information as possible available and transparent."

The order came after a paroled offender was arrested in the murder of a 17-year-old girl and under investigation for the murder of a 14-year-old girl in San Diego. The man’s file was destroyed last fall.

Corrections officers told the Bee that the sheer volume of parole-related records prompted the department’s policy. At any given time, there are 110,000 parolees in California — including 9,000 sex offenders — and it would be difficult to maintain such records indefinitely.

Under the new policy, files of former parolees guilty of other crimes will still be destroyed but all sex offender files will be retained indefinitely.

The records of another parole sex offender were the subject of a successful lawsuit waged by the Bee last month.