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Special Review of the CDCR Release of Inmate Scott Thomas, Oct, CA OIG, 2007

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OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
MATTHEW L. CATE, INSPECTOR GENERAL

SPECIAL REVIEW INTO THE
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION’S
RELEASE OF INMATE SCOTT THOMAS

OCTOBER 2007

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1
INTRODUCTION ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3
BACKGROUND --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3
OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY ---------------------------------------------------- 5
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
FINDING 1------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7
[This finding is based upon specific health care information for
Thomas. The Office of the Inspector General removed the text of
this finding to comply with state and federal privacy laws.]
FINDING 2------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 8
[This finding is based upon specific health care information for
Thomas. The Office of the Inspector General removed the text of
this finding to comply with state and federal privacy laws.]
FINDING 3------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 9
San Quentin case records and counseling staff incorrectly
identified inmate Scott Thomas as the subject of a warrant and
inappropriately released him to the custody of the Alameda
County Sheriff’s Office.
FINDING 4---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13
Despite Division of Adult Parole Operations and San Quentin
staff’s failure to follow department procedures, the prison
reception center’s correctional counselor III should have known
state law prohibited Scott Thomas’s release on a Friday.
FINDING 5---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 17
The correctional counselor III did not follow department
procedures when he paroled Scott Thomas from security
housing.
RESPONSE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION --------------------- 20

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A

series of mistakes, oversights, and failures to follow California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation policy resulted in California State Prison, San
Quentin staff [confidential text removed]* improperly releasing inmate Scott
Thomas on parole on May 18, 2007. The day after San Quentin staff released Thomas
on parole, he allegedly entered a San Francisco bakery and stabbed a 15-year-old girl
and a man who came to her aid. The Office of the Inspector General cannot determine
if Thomas would have ultimately committed a similar act upon his release even if San
Quentin staff had acted appropriately in all instances during Thomas’s period of
incarceration and release. However, [confidential text removed] and closer parole
supervision may have had an impact on Thomas’s actions––including his alleged
decision to assault two people with a knife––after he paroled.
[Two paragraphs of confidential text removed.]
In addition, San Quentin staff’s mistakes and the staff’s failure to follow policy resulted
in the improper release of Thomas. Soon after Thomas had been admitted to San
Quentin for violating the terms of his parole, San Quentin staff mistakenly identified
Thomas as the subject of an arrest warrant from nearby Alameda County. Although
Thomas was of a different race, 16 years younger, and 40 pounds lighter than the actual
subject of the warrant––who was Steven Thomas––the San Quentin analyst processing
the warrant mistakenly placed a parole hold on inmate Scott Thomas––meaning that
when Thomas had completed his incarceration term at San Quentin, he would be turned
over to Alameda County to face the charges covered by the warrant. On May 18, San
Quentin staff determined that Thomas had completed his term of incarceration and
released him to the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff. The Alameda County
Sheriff’s Office determined that Scott Thomas was not the person identified in its
warrant and returned him to the custody of San Quentin the same day.
San Quentin staff then improperly released Thomas in the nearby community. In 2002,
the department designated Thomas as “high control”––meaning that department staff
needed to apply additional precautions when the inmate was paroled. State law
prohibits the department from releasing inmates with this designation on certain days,
including Fridays, so that the inmate’s parole agent can provide close supervision upon
release. Nonetheless, San Quentin staff failed to identify this designation, and they
released Thomas to parole on Friday, May 18, 2007.
Thomas’s parole agent contributed to the improper release of Thomas. Department
policy requires a parole agent to inform an institution 30 days before releasing a highcontrol inmate of the parole division’s plans and reporting instructions for the inmate.
*

The Office of the Inspector General issued a confidential report and a public report related to the special
review. Personal health care information protected from public disclosure by various state and federal
privacy laws was redacted from the public report.
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However, Thomas’s parole agent from the Los Angeles area did not complete this
notification. Had the parole agent notified San Quentin of the inmate’s high-control
status as required, San Quentin staff might have released Thomas appropriately.
Nevertheless, the correctional counselor III who authorized the release of Thomas
failed to identify notices in Thomas’s file clearly indicating his high-control status, as
well as other information that should have prohibited his decision to release Thomas on
May 18 to the nearby community. When the Office of the Inspector General reviewed
Thomas’s file, inspectors found several prominent documents that identified Thomas as
a high-control inmate. Had the correctional counselor III performed an appropriate
review of the file before he authorized Thomas’s release, he should have identified this
information and delayed the inmate’s release.
Further, the correctional counselor III incorrectly concluded that a department policy
requiring the institution to release Thomas to the custody of a parole agent because he
was paroled from segregated housing did not apply. When he was released, Thomas
was serving a security housing unit term, a type of segregated housing, scheduled to
end on May 26––eight days after his release. Therefore, San Quentin staff should have
either transferred Thomas to an institution in southern California to facilitate his release
directly to a parole agent or arranged for a parole agent to travel to San Quentin to take
custody of Thomas. According to the correctional counselor III, he believed that San
Quentin had no authority to subject Thomas to the terms of this policy because the
Institutional Classification Committee failed to properly review Thomas’s security
housing term. However, when Office of the Inspector General inspectors presented the
policy to the correctional counselor III, he agreed that the policy did apply to Thomas.
Had the correctional counselor III properly identified Thomas as a security housing unit
inmate, Thomas would have been released to the custody of a parole agent instead of
being paroled to the nearby community.
In sum, Thomas should have [confidential text removed] and should have been released
directly to a parole agent for close supervision. Instead, due to a series of mistakes and
failures to follow policy, he was released [confidential text removed] directly to the
streets and allegedly stabbed two innocent victims the next day. It is impossible to
know whether [confidential text removed] and close parole supervision would have
prevented this tragedy. Nonetheless, it is vital that the department take steps to address
the problems identified in this report before the next opportunity to avert a tragedy is
lost.
The Office of the Inspector General has made 21 recommendations as a result of this
special review. Eight of these recommendations appear in this public report; the Office
of the Inspector General has redacted the 13 other recommendations due to their
confidential nature.

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INTRODUCTION

T

his report presents the results of a special review into the California State Prison,
San Quentin’s release of inmate Scott Thomas to parole on May 18, 2007. The
Office of the Inspector General issued a confidential report and a public report
related to this special review. The confidential report contains personal health care
information protected from public disclosure by various state and federal privacy laws
and was issued only to the governor’s office, the California Prison Health Care
Receivership Corporation, and officials from the Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation. This personal health care information was redacted from the public
report.
The Office of the Inspector General conducted this review under the authority of
California Penal Code section 6126, which assigns the Office of the Inspector General
responsibility for oversight of the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation. The Office of the Inspector General performed the review from May 30,
2007, through September 12, 2007.
BACKGROUND
At approximately 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2007, Scott Chris Thomas––a
parolee released from San Quentin the previous day––entered a San Francisco bakery
and allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old girl, stabbing her with a knife multiple times in
the throat, wrist, legs, and stomach. Thomas also allegedly stabbed a 60-year-old male
bakery patron who intervened. Thomas reportedly fled the scene of the attack, and
police subsequently arrested him in the parking lot of a nearby hospital. [confidential
text removed]
Thomas was last released on parole from California State Prison, San Quentin. The
prison includes a reception center where it screens approximately 75 to 100 new
inmates per day and reviews their medical and mental health histories. San Quentin
refers about 25 percent of these inmates for a further, more comprehensive,
psychological evaluation. San Quentin has two case records units, one for its reception
center and another for its other housing units. The case records units perform a variety
of activities including receiving, maintaining, interpreting, and disposing of inmate and
parolee records. The units are responsible for computing discharge dates and preparing
forms for parole and discharge of persons under the department’s jurisdiction. The units
each have a correctional counselor III who oversee correctional counselor IIs, case
records managers, case records supervisors, and case records analysts.
Thomas had a seven-year history with the department. The department first admitted
Thomas to state prison from Los Angeles County in October 2000 at the age of 20.
Although Thomas’s initial incarceration was for grand theft auto and hit-and-run, his
subsequent crimes were non-violent, including petty theft, grand theft, and vandalism.
Table 1 below shows that between October 2000 and January 2007, the department
admitted Thomas to state prison nine times, including three stays at San Quentin
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totaling 11 months. Department records show that while incarcerated, the department
disciplined Thomas numerous times for various offenses, including batteries on peace
officers, assaults on other inmates, and violent threats toward inmates.
TABLE 1
CUSTODY HISTORY FOR INMATE SCOTT CHRIS THOMAS

Type of Offense
1

Grand Theft Auto, Hit-and-Run

2

Parole Violation

3

Date
Incarcerated *

Parole Date

Length of
Incarceration
(in months)

Location
(see legend below)

October 23, 2000

April 15, 2001

6

WSP, SCC, LAC

May 24, 2001

July 24, 2001

2

WSP

Grand Theft

February 7, 2002

December 12, 2002

10

NKSP

4

Parole Violation

January 24, 2003

August 25, 2003

7

DVI, CIM

5

Parole Violation

June 3, 2004

October 14, 2004

4

SQ

6

Parole Violation

April 13, 2005

July 25, 2005

3

SQ

7

Parole Violation

August 4, 2005

September 6, 2005

1

HDSP, NKSP, CIM

8

Petty Theft, Vandalism

November 9, 2005

December 20, 2006

14

NKSP, COR, WSP, LAC

9

Parole Violation

January 25, 2007

May 18, 2007

4

SQ

* In some instances, the date shown is the date of formal parole revocation. In these instances, the inmate was incarcerated for a short period prior
to revocation pending the Board of Parole Hearings revocation hearing.
Location Legend:
CIM – California Institution for Men
COR – California State Prison, Corcoran
DVI – Deuel Vocational Institute

HDSP – High Desert State Prison
LAC – California State Prison, Los Angeles County
NKSP – North Kern State Prison

SCC – Sierra Conservation Center
SQ – California State Prison, San Quentin
WSP – Wasco State Prison

[Five paragraphs and Table 2 containing confidential text removed.]
The Division of Adult Parole Operations supervises inmates when released from
prison. When inmates have completed their terms of incarceration, the department
generally releases them to parole in the county from which they were initially
committed. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations Manual
describes parole as a critical period in the life of an offender and adds that the parole
agent plays a key role in maintaining community protection as the parolee makes a
favorable transition to society.
As an inmate approaches his or her parole date, department policy requires department
staff from both the institution and the department’s Division of Adult Parole Operations
to perform a series of reviews to ensure that the inmate receives the appropriate level of
supervision when released. Parole agents and parole unit supervisors from the Division
of Adult Parole Operations determine the appropriate level of supervision for an inmate
nearing parole. Department policy requires the assigned parole agent to develop a
parole plan for each parolee that specifies factors such as employment, residence,

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special conditions, anti-narcotic testing patterns and compliance, and response to
supervision. There are four categories of supervision, as shown in Table 3.

TABLE 3
PAROLE CONTACTS REQUIRED FOR DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF SUPERVISION
Supervision
Level

Face-to-Face contact at
Residence

Collateral
Contacts

Reporting

No requirement

Within 30 days of release or
assignment

No
requirement

Parolee submits monthly
reports

Control/Services

On first working day after
release and twice each
quarter thereafter

Within 15 days of release and
once each quarter thereafter

No
requirement

No requirement

High Services

On first working day after
release and once every 30
days thereafter

Within seven working days of
release and once every 30
days thereafter

Two every 30
days after
release

No requirement

High Control

On first working day after
release and once every 30
days thereafter

Within seven working days of
release and once every 30
days thereafter

Two every 30
days after
release

No requirement

Minimum
Supervision

Face-to-Face Contact

The department’s operations manual requires parole agents to inform an institution of
an inmate’s release plans and reporting instructions at least 30 days before the inmate’s
release date. When an inmate is ready to parole, the department’s operations manual
requires institution staff to verify the release information on the inmate’s checkout
order and supervisory staff to approve the order before the inmate’s release.
[One paragraph of confidential text removed.]
When a parolee violates a term of his or her parole, the department may move to revoke
parole through a revocation hearing held by the Board of Parole Hearings. When the
board revokes parole, the department returns the parolee to a state institution for the
incarceration period the board indicates in its revocation order.
OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY
The purpose of this special review was to assess whether California State Prison, San
Quentin followed established policies and procedures in identifying and treating
Thomas’s [confidential text removed] condition and in subsequently releasing Thomas
on parole. During the course of the special review, the Office of the Inspector General
performed the following procedures:
•

Reviewed various laws, policies and procedures, and other criteria related to the
department’s [confidential text removed] treatment and inmate records, as well as
parole systems, functions, and processes.

•

Interviewed [confidential text removed] staff at San Quentin, including the chief
[confidential text removed], clinicians, and clerks.

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•

Interviewed [confidential text removed] staff at the department’s 11 other reception
centers and at headquarters.

•

Interviewed custody and administrative staff at San Quentin, including facility
captains, housing unit officers, and records staff.

•

Reviewed institutional files, logs, records, and other relevant documents.

•

Obtained information from appropriate [confidential text removed] treatment
information systems.

•

Analyzed the information gathered through the above procedures and formulated
conclusions.

The Office of the Inspector General did not perform the above steps for other inmates
at San Quentin to determine the pervasiveness of the staff’s non-compliance with
established policies and procedures. In addition, for the purpose of this review, the
Office of the Inspector General did not review court orders or remedial plans from the
Coleman v. Schwarzenegger litigation.
In conjunction with this review, the Office of the Inspector General conducted
investigations into the conduct of certain employees at San Quentin. The Office of the
Inspector General has completed those investigations and has provided the confidential
reports to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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FINDING 1
The contents of this finding are redacted because of their confidential nature.
[This finding is based upon specific health care information for Thomas. The Office of
the Inspector General removed the text of this finding to comply with state and federal
privacy laws.]

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FINDING 2
The contents of this finding are redacted because of their confidential nature.
[This finding is based upon specific health care information for Thomas. The Office of
the Inspector General removed the text of this finding to comply with state and federal
privacy laws.]

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FINDING 3
San Quentin case records and counseling staff incorrectly identified inmate Scott
Thomas as the subject of a warrant and inappropriately released him to the
custody of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
When the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office notified a San Quentin case records analyst
that one of the institution’s inmates was the subject of a warrant, the analyst did not
follow procedures to verify the subject’s identity and, as a result, identified the wrong
inmate. The electronic notification message from Alameda County included Scott
Thomas’s California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate number with
the name, birth date, and physical description information for Steven Thomas, the
actual subject of the warrant. Despite this error, had the case records analyst followed
institution procedures, he should have observed that the notification obviously
identified Steven Thomas, not Scott Thomas, as the subject of the warrant. Further, by
not complying with regulations and notifying Scott Thomas that he was the subject of a
warrant, institution staff missed another opportunity to correct the error. Moreover,
while auditing Scott Thomas’s central file before he paroled, another case records
analyst also failed to note that Scott Thomas was not the subject of the warrant. As a
result of these multiple errors, San Quentin incorrectly released Scott Thomas to
Alameda County on May 18, 2007.
The notification message from Alameda County included the incorrect California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate number. According to the
acting case records manager, case records staff require that agencies include the
inmate’s California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation number in warrant
notifications. The manager told the Office of the Inspector General that agencies
sometimes get the number from the department, the California Law Enforcement
Telecommunications System (CLETS), or another resource. The Office of the Inspector
General was unable to determine how Alameda County mistakenly matched Scott
Thomas’s number with that of Steven Thomas. Nonetheless, even though the
notification included Scott Thomas’s California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation number, there was ample information in the notification message to
clearly identify Steven Thomas, not Scott Thomas, as the subject of the warrant.
The case records analyst incorrectly identified Scott Thomas as the subject of the
Alameda County warrant. The March 1, 2007, warrant notification from Alameda
County mistakenly included Scott Thomas’s California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation inmate number with Steven Thomas’s name and other identifying
information such as his race, height, weight, and birth date. San Quentin’s Reception
Center Records Holds Warrants and Detainers Procedures require staff to identify the
inmate via several possible sources, including the department’s Offender Based
Information System. However, according to the case records analyst, when he receives
notification that a San Quentin inmate may be the subject of a county warrant, he
reviews only the subject's last name and the inmate number because many inmates have
aliases or conflicting birth dates. He does not compare any of the other identifying
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information in the message with the information in the Offender Based Information
System. Instead, he relies on the county to accurately identify the inmate number. The
only other check he performs is to call the county to confirm that the warrant is active
and, if so, he then records it in the Offender Based Information System. As a result, the
case records analyst entered into the Offender Based Information System the hold on
Scott Thomas and not Steven Thomas.
While it is possible that inmates may have aliases and conflicting birth dates, relying on
an outside agency to correctly identify the inmate number and only using the last name
to verify the inmate’s identity allows for errors. The risk for error is particularly true in
prisons the size of San Quentin that house more than 5,000 inmates because numerous
inmates may have the same last name.
As shown in Table 4, a comparison of the information Alameda County provided to
San Quentin with information in the department’s Offender Based Information System
shows that the inmates clearly differ in first name, race, birth date, age, and size.
Although inmate Scott Thomas was of a different race, 16 years younger, and 40
pounds lighter than the actual subject of the warrant, the San Quentin analyst
processing the warrant mistakenly placed a parole hold on him––meaning that when
Scott Thomas had completed his incarceration term at San Quentin, he would be turned
over to Alameda County to face the charges covered by the warrant. Accordingly, the
case records analyst should have noted the mistaken identity.
[The Office of the Inspector General removed Table 4 to comply with state and federal
privacy laws.]
San Quentin staff failed to notify Scott Thomas that they had identified him as the
subject of a warrant. After the institution receives a warrant from an outside agency,
California Code of Regulations, Title 15, section 3370.5 requires that the department
provide an inmate a copy of the warrant before it is executed. Further, San Quentin’s
Reception Center Records Holds Warrants and Detainers Procedures require a
correctional counselor I to provide the inmate written notification of the warrant before
the warrant is executed. However, the Office of the Inspector General’s review of Scott
Thomas’s central file did not find documentation that a correctional counselor I had
properly notified Scott Thomas that he was the subject of the Alameda County warrant.
At the time of the Office of the Inspector General’s review, the inmate’s copy of the
form used to notify Thomas that he was the subject of a warrant was still in the central
file, and the inmate’s signature box was blank. Further, Scott Thomas’s copy of the
electronic message from Alameda County that included Steven Thomas’s identifying
information was still in Scott Thomas’s central file. Had a correctional counselor I
notified Scott Thomas that he was the subject of the Alameda County warrant, Scott
Thomas might have stated that the prison staff had identified the wrong inmate.
Another case records analyst failed to notice that Scott Thomas was incorrectly
identified as the subject of the warrant. Section 71010.13 of the Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations Manual requires case records staff to audit
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an inmate’s central file several times during the inmate’s incarceration, including ten
days before an institution releases the inmate. When case records staff audit an inmate’s
file, the manual requires them to review the central file to ensure that the records in the
file properly reflect the inmate’s current status. The manual requires case records staff
to use the department’s Audit Check Sheet when performing the audit. The Audit
Check Sheet includes several areas for the analyst to review, including any holds,
wants,1 or detainers the inmate may have. Despite the manual’s requirement that an
analyst review the inmate’s holds to make sure they correctly reflect the inmate’s
status, three days before San Quentin released Scott Thomas to Alameda County, a case
records analyst audited Scott Thomas’s central file and did not notice or correct the
previous analyst’s misidentification of Scott Thomas as the subject of the warrant.
Instead, the case records analyst marked that portion of the Audit Check Sheet dated
May 15, 2007, to indicate that Scott Thomas was the subject of a warrant from
Alameda County. However, as previously mentioned, based on information in the
electronic message sent by Alameda County, Scott Thomas was clearly not the correct
subject of the warrant. According to the case records analyst who audited the file, she
simply failed to notice the subject of the warrant was not Scott Thomas.
California State Prison, San Quentin released the wrong inmate to Alameda County
and risked releasing to the community the inmate who was the actual subject of the
warrant. As a result of institution staff’s failures to follow institution procedures and
identify the correct inmate as the subject of the Alameda County warrant, San Quentin
incorrectly released Scott Thomas to the custody of Alameda County on May 18, 2007.
Later that day, Alameda County returned Scott Thomas to the prison. According to
notes in Scott Thomas’s central file made by the case records analyst who audited the
file, a representative from Alameda County told her that they realized he was the wrong
inmate because he was the wrong race, a fact that should have been caught by the San
Quentin case records analysts. Further, San Quentin risked releasing Steven Thomas on
parole instead of to the custody of Alameda County. Because of the multiple errors, San
Quentin staff did not enter the warrant information in Steven Thomas’s Offender Based
Information System record until May 18, 2007. Steven Thomas was still housed at San
Quentin on that day, but had his release date been earlier, his Offender Based
Information System record would not have reflected the hold, and San Quentin might
have released him on parole and not to the custody of Alameda County.
RECOMMENDATIONS
The Office of the Inspector General recommends that the warden of California
State Prison, San Quentin take the following actions:
•
1

Monitor the work of the two case records analysts who did not follow policies
and procedures in processing the warrant notification and in validating inmate
A want is a request submitted by a law enforcement agency communicating its desire to take
jurisdiction over an inmate when the inmate has completed his or her term of incarceration with the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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holds, wants, or detainers prior to releasing Scott Thomas to Alameda County.
Continue monitoring this work until the analysts are consistently complying
with policies and procedures. If appropriate, provide remedial training or take
disciplinary action.
•

Ensure that appropriate staff notify inmates who are the subjects of a warrant
notification and that staff document the notification in the inmates’ central
files.

•

With the assistance of the department’s Office of Audits and Compliance,
audit a representative sample of inmates’ records to determine the extent of
non-compliance with case records policies and procedures. If the rate of
compliance is unsatisfactory, provide training or administer progressive
discipline, if necessary, to staff and supervisors who are not performing their
jobs.

As cited in the Introduction to this report, the Office of the Inspector General has
investigated the conduct of certain San Quentin employees and has referred its
reports to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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FINDING 4
Despite Division of Adult Parole Operations and San Quentin staff’s failure to
follow department procedures, the prison reception center’s correctional
counselor III should have known state law prohibited Scott Thomas’s release on a
Friday.
To ensure that supervision of high-risk parolees begins as soon as possible after their
release from prison, Penal Code section 3060.7 prohibits institutions from releasing
inmates requiring high-control parole supervision on certain days, including Fridays.
The department has various procedures to ensure institutions properly release inmates
requiring high-control supervision. The Introduction to this report describes various
department procedures intended to ensure that institutions properly release inmates
requiring high-control supervision from incarceration based on a parole violation. In
2002, a Division of Adult Parole Operations unit supervisor determined that Scott
Thomas required high-control supervision. The Division of Adult Parole Operations
still designated that Scott Thomas required high-control supervision when San Quentin
released him in May 2007. However, multiple violations of department procedures led
to San Quentin improperly releasing Scott Thomas on a Friday. Specifically, Division
of Adult Parole Operations staff did not follow all department procedures to alert San
Quentin that Thomas required high-control supervision. Even though parole staff failed
to follow department procedures, Thomas’s central file still clearly indicated in
numerous places that his release was pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7.
Nonetheless, a case records analyst who prepared Thomas’s checkout order and the
correctional counselor III who signed the order failed to notice the multiple indications
in Thomas’s file that his release was subject to Penal Code section 3060.7. As a result,
the correctional counselor III signed Thomas’s checkout order, releasing him on a
Friday in violation of state law.
The Division of Adult Parole Operations determined that Scott Thomas was a highrisk parolee and needed high-control supervision in 2002 but did not properly alert
San Quentin before the institution released Thomas. To ensure prompt parole
supervision of high-risk parolees, Penal Code section 3060.7 requires that inmates the
Division of Adult Parole Operations designates as requiring the highest level of parole
supervision––high control––report to their parole agents within two days of their
release. To ensure the availability of staff so inmates are able to comply, the law further
prohibits California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities from
releasing these inmates on certain days, including Fridays. Section 81010.5 of the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations Manual requires
Division of Adult Parole Operations parole agents and unit supervisors to determine the
appropriate supervision level for an inmate nearing parole. The manual requires them to
use several criteria, such as commitment offense and prior criminal history, to
determine the level of supervision that is appropriate for an inmate nearing parole.
Further, the manual requires parole agents to include the appropriate level of
supervision on a Release Program Study form, which is to be signed by the unit
supervisor and sent to the inmate’s institution by parole staff. Thomas’s records show
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that a Division of Adult Parole Operations unit supervisor first identified Thomas as
needing high-control supervision in 2002. The Division of Adult Parole Operations still
designated Thomas as needing high-control supervision when San Quentin released
him in May 2007. As a result, San Quentin should not have released Thomas on a
Friday, pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7.
In December 2006, the Divisions of Adult Institutions and Adult Parole Operations
distributed a memorandum regarding Penal Code section 3060.7 releases. To assist in
identifying inmates subject to release pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7, the
memorandum directed unit supervisors to stamp “PC 3060.7” on Parole Violation
Dispositions forms for all high-control parolees returned to custody for parole
violations. However, when the Office of the Inspector General spoke to the supervisor
of the parole unit to which Thomas was assigned, he stated he was familiar with the
memorandum but was unaware it required him to stamp “PC 3060.7” on Parole
Violation Dispositions forms. As a result, when the Office of the Inspector General
reviewed the Parole Violation Dispositions form in Thomas’s central file, the unit
supervisor had not stamped it appropriately to identify Thomas’s release was pursuant
to Penal Code section 3060.7.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations Manual
requires Division of Adult Parole Operations parole agents to take several steps when
an inmate such as Thomas is nearing release from revocation status, which is an
incarceration sentence based on the Board of Parole Hearings’ determination that the
individual violated the terms of his or her parole. Specifically, section 81010.23 of the
operations manual requires an inmate’s parole agent to inform the institution of the
inmate’s release plans and reporting instructions at least 30 days before the inmate’s
revocation release date. However, according to Thomas’s parole agent’s notes, he did
not contact the institution 30 days before Thomas’s release. Instead, he only checked
Thomas’s status in the department’s Offender Based Information System on May 18,
2007, the day San Quentin released Thomas. According to the agent’s entries on
Thomas’s record of supervision, the Offender Based Information System still showed
Thomas in custody at San Quentin. The next entries on Thomas’s record of supervision
were dated May 22, 2007. One entry states that the agent checked the Offender Based
Information System, and it showed that San Quentin released Thomas. Another entry
states the agent requested an arrest report from the San Francisco Police Department
regarding Thomas’s arrest on May 19, 2007. Had the agent followed procedures in the
operations manual and provided staff at San Quentin with release plans and reporting
instructions, his actions might have alerted institution staff regarding Thomas’s highcontrol supervision status.
Even though Division of Adult Parole Operations staff failed to follow procedures by
not alerting San Quentin staff of Thomas’s high-control supervision designation,
that designation was clearly indicated in his central file. Section 72030.4.8 of the
operations manual requires case records staff to include in an inmate’s central file the
Release Program Study form that the Division of Adult Parole Operations unit
supervisors fill out, indicating, among other things, whether an inmate requires highBUREAU OF AUDITS AND INVESTIGATIONS
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control supervision. Further, a December 2006 department memorandum requires that
facility case records managers ensure that staff mark “PC section 3060.7 Supervision
Case” in red ink on the Chronological Inmate History forms in central files for all
inmates who meet Penal Code section 3060.7 criteria. The Office of the Inspector
General found a Release Program Study form in Thomas’s central file indicating that
he required high-control supervision and the notation “PC 3060.7 Supervision Case” in
red ink at least once on each of the first five pages of the Chronological Inmate History
form. Moreover, the Office of the Inspector General found “3060.7” written in red ink
on the control card stapled on top of documents on the inside front cover of Thomas’s
central file, yet another indication that Thomas was subject to high-control supervision
upon release pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7.
As a result of their failure to notice that Thomas was subject to release pursuant to
Penal Code section 3060.7, a second case records analyst incorrectly prepared, and a
correctional counselor III improperly signed, Thomas’s checkout order on a Friday.
Despite multiple indications that Thomas was subject to release pursuant to Penal Code
section 3060.7, the second case records analyst failed to indicate so on the checkout
order she prepared, as policy requires. After completing the pre-release audit of an
inmate’s central file, section 74070.21 of the operations manual requires a case records
analyst or a higher ranking staff member to verify the release information on a checkout
order to release the inmate. The checkout order includes a section for the type of
release, including a Penal Code 3060.7 box. However, the case records analyst who
completed the pre-release audit of Thomas’s central file did not check the box when she
prepared Thomas’s checkout order. According to the case records analyst, when
Alameda County returned Thomas to San Quentin, she concentrated on providing funds
for Thomas’s release so that he could secure transportation to southern California,
where he was to parole, and she thus did not notice Thomas was subject to release
pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7. Her failure to mark the corresponding box on
his checkout order contributed to San Quentin’s release of Scott Thomas on Friday,
May 18, 2007, in violation of Penal Code section 3060.7.
In addition to the failures of Division of Adult Parole Operations staff and the case
records analyst, the correctional counselor III, who has final checkout approval
authority, failed to do his job correctly. According to the correctional counselor III, he
reviewed Thomas’s central file for a second time on Friday, May 18, 2007. He stated
that he checks for high-control cases to ensure that the institution complies with Penal
Code section 3060.7, and he does not release an inmate designated by parole unit
supervisors as high control on a Friday. Further, according to the correctional counselor
III, even though the Chronological Inmate History form is the first place he checks, he
did not notice the “PC 3060.7 Supervision Case” notations on it when he reviewed
Thomas’s central file. One of the reasons the correctional counselor III gave for
releasing Thomas on Friday was that he was concerned that San Quentin was holding
an inmate beyond his parole date because staff members mistakenly identified Scott
Thomas as the subject of the Alameda County warrant. Therefore, he said he was
focused on correcting the errors and releasing Thomas expeditiously. As a result, he did
not notice the “PC 3060.7 Supervision Case” notations on the Chronological Inmate
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History form and signed the checkout order, releasing Thomas on Friday, May 18,
2007.
RECOMMENDATIONS
The Office of the Inspector General recommends that the warden of California
State Prison, San Quentin take the following actions:
•

Monitor the work of the case records analyst and the correctional counselor
III who did not follow policies and procedures in reviewing Thomas’s records
before release. Continue monitoring this work until the analyst and
correctional counselor III are consistently complying with policies and
procedures. If appropriate, provide remedial training or take disciplinary
action.

•

Finding 3 of this report includes a recommendation to audit a representative
sample of inmates’ records to determine the extent of non-compliance with
case records policies and procedures. Include in this audit testing for
compliance with the preparation and approval of inmate checkout orders, as
cited in this finding.

In addition, the Office of the Inspector General recommends that the Division of
Adult Parole Operations monitor the work of the unit supervisor and the parole
agent who did not follow policies and procedures in identifying Thomas as high
control and who failed to notify the institution of the inmate’s release plans and
reporting instructions. Continue monitoring this work until the unit supervisor
and parole agent are consistently complying with policies and procedures. If
appropriate, provide remedial training or take disciplinary action.
Lastly, the Office of the Inspector General recommends that the Office of Audits
and Compliance audit the Division of Adult Parole Operations’ compliance with
the above policies and procedures. The division should use the findings from this
audit to train and discipline staff as appropriate.
As cited in the Introduction to this report, the Office of the Inspector General has
investigated the conduct of certain San Quentin employees and has referred its
reports to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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FINDING 5
The correctional counselor III did not follow department procedures when he
paroled Scott Thomas from security housing.
When Scott Thomas paroled from San Quentin, he had time remaining on a security
housing unit term he received for assaults on two correctional officers. As a result,
Thomas was subject to the department’s procedures requiring that institutions arrange
with the Division of Adult Parole Operations to release the inmates directly to a parole
agent. However, as a result of the correctional counselor III’s mistaken interpretation of
the department’s procedures, the correctional counselor III did not arrange for a parole
agent to pick up Thomas from the institution, thereby authorizing Thomas’s
unsupervised release.
Department policy requires institutions to release inmates paroling from a security
housing unit term directly to a parole agent. In addition to the release requirements of
Penal Code section 3060.7, to ensure parole agents closely supervise inmates released
on parole from security housing units, the department’s Procedures for Inmates
Releasing to Parole from a Security Housing Unit or Psychiatric Services Unit require
institutions to release inmates directly to a parole agent. The procedures specify that
counseling staff are to track and monitor inmates serving security housing unit terms
who are eligible for parole within 150 days so that staff can, among other things, make
arrangements to either transfer the inmate to an institution closer to his or her parole
region or contact the Division of Adult Parole Operations to arrange for a parole agent
to pick up the inmate directly from the institution.
Thomas had time remaining on a security housing unit term when San Quentin
released him. As a result of Thomas striking a correctional officer and spitting on
another officer in March 2006, the Institutional Classification Committee, chaired by
the chief deputy warden, imposed on Thomas a security housing unit term with a
minimum eligible release date of April 21, 2007. California State Prison, Los Angeles
County paroled Thomas on December 20, 2006, approximately four months before his
security housing minimum eligible release date.
California Code of Regulations, Title 15, section 3341.5 requires that inmates returning
to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who paroled from a
determinate sentence in security housing be evaluated by an Institutional Classification
Committee to establish whether the determinate sentence should be reimposed. The
section reads, in part, as follows:
When an inmate is paroled while serving a determinate term, the remaining
time on the term is automatically suspended. When an inmate returns to prison,
either as a parole violator or with a new prison commitment, ICC [Institutional
Classification Committee] shall evaluate the case for reimposition of the
suspended determinate term.

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While on parole, Thomas was arrested in Humboldt County and charged with traveling
beyond 50 miles from his residence and failing to report to the Division of Adult Parole
Operations. As a result, the Board of Parole Hearings revoked Thomas’s parole, and he
arrived at San Quentin in January 2007. Following department procedures, when
Thomas returned to San Quentin, a correctional lieutenant correctly placed him in
administrative segregation pending review by the Institutional Classification
Committee.
Six days after Thomas arrived at San Quentin, the Institutional Classification
Committee retained him in administrative segregation pending receipt and review of his
central file. Subsequently, once Thomas’s central file arrived, a correctional counselor
recalculated Thomas’s minimum eligible security housing release date as May 26,
2007, based on his previous security housing term. Thomas remained in administrative
segregation until the San Quentin correctional counselor III released him on May 18,
2007, eight days before his recalculated security housing minimum eligible release
date.
The correctional counselor III should have arranged for a parole agent to pick up
Thomas from the institution. Because the correctional counselor III incorrectly
concluded that the department’s procedures for inmates paroling from a security
housing unit term did not apply to Thomas, he did not arrange to release Thomas
directly to a Division of Adult Parole Operations agent. According to the correctional
counselor III, the Institutional Classification Committee should have reviewed
Thomas’s security housing term 30 to 45 days before his minimum eligible release date
and either suspended or reinstated his security housing unit term. The correctional
counselor III stated that by failing to conduct the Institutional Classification Committee
hearing, the institution had no authority to retain Thomas in administrative segregation.
As a result, the correctional counselor III did not believe he needed to release Thomas
directly to a Division of Adult Parole Operations agent. However, the Office of the
Inspector General presented the correctional counselor III with department procedures
contradicting his statement. The procedures specify that if an inmate paroles with an
indeterminate or unexpired security housing unit term and is returned to custody and
placed in segregation pending resolution of his or her security housing unit status, he or
she is a security housing unit inmate. Upon reviewing the procedures, the correctional
counselor III confirmed that Thomas was a security housing unit inmate at the time he
paroled.
Because Scott Thomas was a security housing unit inmate and subject to release
pursuant to Penal Code section 3060.7 when he paroled, the correctional counselor III
should have arranged to release Thomas directly to his parole agent on Sunday, May
20, 2007, at the earliest. Instead, the correctional counselor III signed the checkout
order releasing Thomas on Friday, May 18, 2007, without arranging for his release to
his parole agent. Thomas then allegedly stabbed two people in a San Francisco bakery
on Saturday, May 19, 2007, hundreds of miles from Los Angeles County, his
designated county of parole, and a day before the correctional counselor III should have
released him.
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RECOMMENDATION
The Office of the Inspector General recommends that the warden of California
State Prison, San Quentin require that the associate warden, the correctional
counselor III’s supervisor, closely monitor the correctional counselor III’s work to
ensure he complies with the policies and procedures pertaining to his position. If
necessary, provide training or impose discipline as appropriate.
As cited in the Introduction to this report, the Office of the Inspector General has
investigated the conduct of certain San Quentin employees and has referred its
reports to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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STATE OF CALIFORNIA

RESPONSE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION

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