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Prisoners' details mistakenly sent out twice before

The incident was reported to the Information Commissioner's Office, which found that a lack of audit trails and other procedures meant the breach would have gone unnoticed if the recipients had not reported it.

An internal investigation found that the same error had occurred on two previous occasions in the previous month, with details sent to other inmates' families. Police and a member of prison staff were sent to the recipients' home addresses and checks were made to ensure the files had been deleted.

The data breach came to light after one of the recipients contacted the prison in 2011 saying they had received an email from the prison clerk about an upcoming visit, along with a file containing 1,182 prisoners' names, ethnicities, addresses, sentence length and release dates.

The potential damage and distress that could have been caused by this serious data breach is obvious. Disclosing this information not only had the potential to put the prisoners at risk, but also risked the welfare of their families through the release of their home addresses.

Fortunately it appears that the fall-out from this breach was contained, but we cannot ignore the fact that this breach was caused by a clear lack of management oversight of a relatively new member of staff.

– David Smith, ICO Deputy Commissioner

MOJ to be fined over Cardiff prisoners' records

There are 1,182 inmates at Cardiff Prison. Credit: David Jones/PA

The Ministry of Justice is to be fined £140,000 after the personal details of all the prisoners at Cardiff jail were mistakenly e-mailed to three inmates' families.

The Ministry says it treats the security of information very seriously and that it took immediate steps to recover the data as soon as the loss was reported.

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