SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Corrections reported Friday that a recent information request that resulted in the data release of personal information of more than 1,000 employees was sought on behalf of an IDOC inmate.
IDOC spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says that on August 14, the IDOC discovered that the names, job ranks/positions, salaries and social security numbers of more than 1,000 employees were inadvertently transmitted in a FOIA request that was released to a private citizen.
“We immediately notified the affected employees and took steps to ensure that their identities and credit would not be further breached. Each of them will be offered free credit monitoring services,” says Wilson.
The agency quickly launched an internal investigation and discovered that the private citizen who requested the information was doing so on behalf of an IDOC inmate.
The error was discovered after the civilian mailed the response to the inmate. Mailroom staff intercepted the package during a routine inspection of incoming mail. The documents were immediately secured in the facility vault.
“We interviewed the inmate who was the intended recipient of the information and conducted a search of the inmate’s cell. No employee information was discovered in the cell,” Wilson explained. “We also reviewed the inmate’s recent phone conversations, which did not reveal any discussions about obtaining employee social security numbers.”
IDOC staff interviewed the civilian who issued the FOIA request for the names, ranks, and salaries of employees who worked at Dixon and Lawrence Correctional Centers during Fiscal Year 15.
According to the agency, the civilian stated that he never looked at the multi-page FOIA response and was unaware that it contained personal information. He agreed to a polygraph test and tested truthful to the above statements.
IDOC says preliminary findings suggest that human error led to the information being released without redaction or a full review. They are conducting a full audit of our FOIA unit and will implement streamlined procedures to prevent further inadvertent disclosures.