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Data on California prisons' visitors, staff, inmates exposed

jail open gate.jpg
Roland Lizarondo
Law enforcement vehicles are shown entering the inmate intake gate at the Central Jail in downtown San Diego on April 26, 2022.

California corrections officials said Monday that there has been a potential exposure of medical information for employees and visitors who were tested for the coronavirus, although they have not found any improper use despite the data breach.

The data was for people who were tested for COVID-19 in the department between June 2020 and last January.

The testing data did not include inmates, but the resulting investigation uncovered the potential release of mental health and financial information for some inmates going back to 2008.

The department's Mental Health Service Delivery System includes inmates' names and treatment information. A system that tracks inmates' financial accounts also may have been breached, and drivers’ license and Social Security numbers for parolees in substance use disorder treatment programs may have also been exposed.

Investigators found in June that “someone or something entered the system without permission,” but said there is no indication anyone viewed or copied the information.

Officials said they are notifying those potentially exposed now that the investigation is completed. It also set up toll-free information numbers and posted information online.

The problem was limited to one computer system and officials don't know who was responsible. They have switched to a new system with more security controls.

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