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Media outrage shuts down prisoner shredding operation

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By JASON WHITELY
WFAA News 8 - Dallas, TX
Dec. 10, 2011

Sometimes it is obvious that certain people should not be handling confidential or personal information. 

A little-known community service program run by Dallas County which lets convicted criminals sort and then shred confidential documents and personal information has come to an end after the local news broadcast questioned the practice.

"This is serious," said Matthew Yarbrough, a Dallas attorney who's also a former federal prosecutor. "This is the sort of behavior or business process — even by the county — that is unacceptable."

Dallas County could be liable, Yarbrough said, if anyone misuses the information.

“Plus, having criminals handle medical records could mean Dallas County is violating federal privacy rights for medical records, known as HIPAA,” Yarbrough added.

"Any convicted felon handling your personal patient information should be something that gives you pause," he said.

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