California ordered to stop shredding sex offenders' parole files

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state corrections officials Tuesday to stop destroying sex offenders' parole files and to make as much of their contents public as possible.

The move follows the arrest of a paroled sex offender accused of killing a 17-year-old girl near San Diego last month and under investigation in the death of a 14-year-old who disappeared in the same area more than a year ago.

It also follows The Bee's successful lawsuit last month to force corrections officials to turn over the parole records of kidnap and rape suspect Phillip Garrido.

"The current practice of not keeping information on sex offenders in California is unacceptable," the governor 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.

"I have directed my Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to end this practice and immediately begin keeping all sex offender parolee files."

Until Tuesday, the department routinely shredded the files of parolees one year after they had been discharged from parole.

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