Opposition is building to the practice in eight states of giving prisoners access to citizens' Social Security numbers and other personal information during job-training prorams despite federal officials' warnings against it, reports the Kansas City Star. The Social Security Administration will propose a law to forbid the practice. The matter raises issues of how far cash-strapped states should go in trying to train prisoners, reduce recidivism and cut costs.
Nationwide, the work often involves student transcripts, employee wage statements or other matters, according to the new audit, and five prisons in Kansas use such workers. “This is like having the fox practice herding chickens,” said Kansas Rep. Pat Colloton, who heads the orrections and Juvenile Justice Committee. “This is a really bad idea.” About 80 percent of prisoners have a drug problem, Colloton said, and identity theft is one of the main crimes of addicts. Linda Foley, a founder of the national Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, said such access for prisoners, probationers and parolees was “outrageous.”