San Quentin bungled inmate's release

California’s inspector general on Wednesday said employees at San Quentin State Prison failed to follow policies in the unsupervised release of an inmate who police say then stabbed a 14-year-old San Francisco girl.

The errors included prison employees mistaking Scott Chris Thomas — who is white — for another inmate who is black and has a different first name.

Thomas, 26, was supposed to be picked up by his parole officer in Los Angeles County last May. Instead, he was dropped off two days early at a transit center in downtown San Rafael, north of San Francisco.

The next day, San Francisco police say he entered the Creighton’s Bakery in Diamond Heights and stabbed the teenager multiple times and a 60-year-old man who tried to help her. Both victims are recovering.

Thomas is awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon.

“The department’s mission is to protect public safety, but in this instance they failed their mission on several fronts,” Inspector General Matthew Cate said in releasing his report after a four-month investigation that was requested by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Employees should have noticed that Thomas was repeatedly labeled a career criminal and dangerous inmate who required special conditions for his release, Cate found.

He initially served six months in prison for grand theft auto and hit-and-run between 2000 and 2001.

Thomas had nine subsequent parole violations, including for grand theft, petty theft and vandalism. He also served extra prison time for assaulting two prison guards, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He most recently was returned to prison in January 2007 before his release last May.

But because he was mistaken for another inmate, Thomas was released to Alameda County law enforcement. Alameda County immediately recognized the mistake and returned him to San Quentin, where prison employees nevertheless rereleased him with no supervision.

San Quentin Warden Robert Ayers ordered that employees be retrained, instituted another level of review before inmates are paroled and created a checklist to make sure procedures are followed, Thornton said. — AP

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

A great white shark swims off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. The term “shark attack” is slowly disappearing, at least as a phrase used by researchers and officials who have been rethinking how to describe the moments when sharks and humans meet. (Benjamin Lowy/The New York Times)
Don’t call them ‘shark attacks,’ scientists say

By Alan Yuhas New York Times On the beaches of Northern California,… Continue reading

Lindsey Lee Lugrin, left, and Isha Mehra in their office, on July 28, 2021. They have created an app where online influencers can share information in a collective effort to raise their pay. (Amanda Hakan/The New York Times)
The app with the unprintable name: Empowering creators

‘This is about the future of work’

Most Read