Illustration for article titled Heres the Only Record of Daniel Holtzclaw Left in the Oklahoma Corrections System

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections removed former cop and convicted rapist Daniel Holtzclaw from their online system. His mugshot, offense information, and where he’s in custody were deleted, with a DOC spokesperson telling a local news station it was a “security matter.” He has also, as a tipster pointed out to us, had his information masked in a system meant for crime victims, which was created so said individuals know where their perpetrators are.

Holtzclaw isn’t listed at all in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmate lookup. A record of him still exists of him, sort of, in one place, a database called VINE. It was created by the State Attorney General’s office and is meant for crime victims, who can register to be notified about “changes in the custody status of inmates.”

In that system, Holtzclaw’s mugshot, above, is still available. But he is listed as “transferred” and his location as “unknown.”

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Illustration for article titled Heres the Only Record of Daniel Holtzclaw Left in the Oklahoma Corrections System

When you phone VINE’s hotline and enter Holtzclaw’s name or offender ID, an automated voice responds, “I’m sorry. I can’t find an offender whose records match the information you have provided.”

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The DOC is still not saying precisely what security concerns motivated them to delete Holtzclaw’s information (nor is it clear, as OKC Fox points out, that it’s legal to remove inmate information, which are public record, from public view).

And frankly, it’s hard not to wonder whether this has something to do with who his victims are: black women with, in some cases, criminal records. Is the DOC operating under the assumption that they have friends or family members who are also incarcerated, and who might be in a position to reach him?

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The AG’s office told Fox Holtzclaw’s victims would be notified if he’s ever slated for release. He is serving 236 years; he’s not eligible for parole at any point within a natural human life span. However, as crime victims, the women he harmed are entitled to have the security and peace of mind of knowing, for the rest of their lives, exactly where he is.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 67B5 5767 9D6F 652E 8EFD 76F5 3CF0 DAF2 79E5 1FB6

Image via VINE.

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DISCUSSION

Is it possible that the records either being gone or hidden has more to do with protecting him? My thought is that perhaps because he is someone who would be at high risk as a target for violence in prison, maybe this is another layer of “protective custody.” Convicted criminal or no, purely from a liability standpoint, the state and the department of corrections do have a responsibility to provide basic measures to maintain the safety of inmates once they’re in the system.

I have a lot of personal feelings about this particular guy and his particular victims and how particularly disgusting I find him to be, but if I step back and look at it objectively, I can see how there might be legitimate reasons for keeping information private.

As to the actual legality of doing so, I have no idea.