FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Daniel Henderson,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-248

Theresa Lantz, Commissioner, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction;

and Mark Grenier, Counselor, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction,

Population Management Unit,

 
  Respondents May 25, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 8, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

           

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that by letter dated March 5, 2004, the complainant requested that the Director of “Pop. Management” for the respondent department provide him with a copy of all records referencing the reason his Escape Risk Score was raised from level one to level four (“requested records”).

 

3.  It is found that by letter dated March 12, 2004 respondent Grenier acknowledged receipt of the request and informed the complainant that the request was under review and that a response would be forthcoming.

 

4.  It is found that by letter dated April 8, 2004 respondent Grenier requested payment of $6.25 from the complainant, which payment the complainant forwarded to respondent Grenier on or about April 19.

 

5.  It is found that on or about May 11, 2004 the complainant received from respondent Grenier a copy of records responsive to the complainant’s request, however, some of the records provided were redacted.  It is with the redacted portions of the records that the complainant takes issue.

 

6.  By letter of complaint dated May 11, 2004 and filed on June 2, 2004, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him a complete copy of the requested records. 

 

7.  Section 1-210(a), G.S, provides, in relevant part:

 

Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to … (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….[Emphasis added].

 

8.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., further provides, in relevant part:

 

The fee for any copy provided in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act: (1)  By … a state agency … shall not exceed twenty-five cents per page….   

 

9.  It is found that the respondents maintain the requested records.

 

10.  It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

11.  It is found that subsequent to the filing of the complaint in this matter, the respondents conducted a further review of the requested records, and in particular, the redactions initially made to such records and provided the complainant with additional information at the hearing in this matter.  However, some portions of the records provided still contain redactions, which redactions are at issue in this appeal.

 

12.  The respondents contend that the redacted portions of the records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(A) and 1-210(b)(18), G.S. 

 

13.  Section 1-210(b)(3)(A), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of:

 

Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of (A) the identity of informants not otherwise known or the identity of witnesses not otherwise known whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known.

 

14.  Section 1-210(b)(18), G.S., in relevant part, permits the nondisclosure of:

Records, the disclosure of which the Commissioner of Correction … has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk, including the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from, or a disorder in, a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction….

15.  Following the hearing in this matter, the respondents provided the Commission with an unredacted copy of the records at issue for in camera inspection.

16.  The in camera records consist of 31 pages, which have been marked IC 2004-248-1 through 31, inclusive, for identification purposes.[1]

17.  It is found that a comparison of the records already provided to the complainant with the in camera records reveal that most of the in camera records have already been provided to the complainant without redactions.

18.  It is found that the pages that contain redactions and which have not been provided to the complainant in their entirety are pages: IC 2004-248-2, 3, 4 and 31.

19.  It is found that IC 2004-248-2, 3, 4 and 31 contain information concerning escape plans, and details that would identify a confidential informant and the respondent department’s staff who conducted investigations into escape plans, whose safety may be placed at risk.  It is therefore found that the redacted portions of IC 2004-248-2, 3, 4 and 31 constitute “records, the disclosure of which the Commissioner of Correction … has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk, including the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from, or a disorder in, a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction”, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(18), G.S. 

20.  It is therefore concluded that the redactions described in paragraphs 18 and 19, above, are permissible pursuant 1-210(b)(18), G.S., and therefore, the respondents did not violate the FOI Act when they failed to provide the complainant with such redacted portions of the requested records.

21.  In light of the conclusion reached in finding 20, above, it is not necessary to address the respondents’ further claim of exemption pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(A), G.S.

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

1.  The complaint is hereby dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 25, 2005.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission


PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

Daniel Henderson

c/o Gennie Henderson

22 Lake Road

Middlefield, CT 06455

 

Theresa Lantz, Commissioner, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction;

and Mark Grenier, Counselor, State of

Connecticut, Department of Correction,

Population Management Unit

c/o Madeline A. Melchionne, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-248FD/paj/5/25/2005

                       

 



[1] The in camera records do not contain page 278 of the manuscript of the book titled “The Great Escape”.