Inmate records found all over the street

February 8, 2008 5:32:37 PM PST
Arrest records loaded with social security numbers, street addresses and personal information were found dumped in downtown Houston.The records were found next to a dumpster behind the Harris County Sheriff's Department in downtown Houston. While it looks any other pile of trash, a closer look at the papers scattered about the sidewalk outside the county's booking center would alarm anyone. Our camera discovered inmate booking records containing sensitive information, including driver's license and social security numbers, tossed out like garbage.

There was an entire stack left sitting next a receptacle for the taking.

"It appears this was simply human error," said Captain John Martin of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Documents brought to this facility from other jails are supposed to be shredded. Protocol is to destroy them before they ever leave the building. Captain Martin says the deputy in charge had every intention of doing that.

"The deputy inadvertently put them into a trash bin instead of a shredding bin which explains how they got onto the sidewalk," he said.

Realizing what had happened, authorities collected the pile along with any loose papers. It's unclear whether every document has been accounted for.

"That shows you something, that shows you they are not doing their job," said former inmate Steve Griffin.

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