FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Wendy G. Beres and Citizens Action Group Against the Jail, Inc.,

 

Complainants,

 

against Docket #FIC 88-279

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut Department of Correction,

January 25, 1989

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 29, 1988, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated May 24, 1988, the complainants requested that the respondent provide them with records of:

 

a. the transportation costs to and from the courts per prisoner per mile;

 

b. the expenses paid by the State of Connecticut to public defenders, including mileage and meals, and what type of expenses are included;

 

c. the work release program policy;

 

d. the type of industries participating in work release;

 

e. the incentives given to industries who partipate in work release;

 

f. the policy or report on who is eligible for work release; and

 

g. the definition of a medium security correctional center, including who can be detained in one.

 

Docket #FIC 88-279 Page Two

 

3. By letter dated June 3, 1988, the respondent's deputy answered the complainants' letter of May 24, 1988, suggesting a meeting date be scheduled.

 

4. By letter dated June 22, 1988, the complainants reiterated their request and additionally requested a copy of the department of correction's current budget.

 

5. It is found that by letter dated July 1, 1988, the complainants reminded the respondent they were still waiting for the items requested in their May 24 and June 22, 1988 letters.

 

6. By letter dated July 11, 1988, and filed with the Commission on July 11, 1988, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging the respondent failed to respond to their requests in a timely fashion.

 

7. It is found that by letter dated July 11, 1988, the respondent's deputy answered the complainants' letter of June 22, 1988.

 

8. It is found that the respondent's deputy routinely handles matters such as the complainants' requests.

 

9. It is found that the respondent's department received the complainants' May 24, 1988 request on May 31, 1988, and that the respondent's deputy received it on June 1 or 2, 1988.

 

10. It is concluded that the respondent responded to the complainants' May 24, 1988 request within four business days, as required by 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

11. It is found that the respondent received the complainants' June 22, 1988 request on July 1, 1988, and that the respondent's deputy received it on July 5, 1988.

 

12. It is found that delays within the respondent's department in forwarding requests to whomever handles them do not excuse the respondent from his responsibilities under 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

13. It is concluded that the respondent did not respond to the complainants' request of June 22, 1988 within four business days, in violation of 1-21i(a).

 

14. The respondent claims that:

 

a. the department of correction has none of the records described in paragraphs 2a, b, d, e and g, above; and

 

Docket #FIC 88-279 Page Three

 

b. the department's policy on community release eligibility, which he provided to the complainants on July 11, 1988, is the only record the department has which meets the descriptions in paragraphs 2c and f, above.

 

15. It is found that the respondent does not maintain records containing the information described in paragraphs 2a, b, d, e and g, above.

 

16. It is found that the respondent does not maintain a separate record of the department's work release policy, but that that policy is covered by the department's more general community release policy.

 

17. Thus it is concluded that the respondent has provided the complainants with the only record he has which meets the description in paragraphs 2c and f, above.

 

18. It is found, however, that the respondent did not provide the complainants with his community release policy until several weeks after receiving the complainants' second request.

 

19. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by not providing the release policy promptly upon written request.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The respondent henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-15, 1-19(a) and 1-21i(a), G.S., answering all requests for records within four business days and fulfilling such requests promptly.

 

2. The Commission encourages the respondent to review and revise the department of correction's procedures for responding to records requests to avoid delays in the future.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 25, 1989.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission