California officials say a man who was among three convicted in the 1976 kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver has been released on parole.

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton says 63-year-old James Schoenfeld was released from the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo early Friday.

Gov. Jerry Brown allowed the parole to go ahead a week ago.

Schoenfeld; his brother, Richard; and a friend, Fred Woods, pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges for holding the group hostage in a buried, ventilated trailer.

The men took the students and bus driver from Chowchilla to a quarry near Livermore, where they were held captive underground until they escaped when the kidnappers took a nap.

The trio planned to seek a $5 million ransom.