FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Lee A. Jupina,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2008-270
Director, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
Security Division; and State of
Connecticut, Department of
Correction,
 
  Respondents March 25, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 4, 2008, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.). 

           

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 application dated March 28, 2008, the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with copies of records pertaining to the security of the complainant, from July 10, 2006 to March 28, 2008, and “all outgoing and incoming mail that has been intercepted and all letters (kites) that have been written to DOC personnel or outside authorities or ‘media.’”

 

3. It is found that the respondents received the letter described in paragraph 2, above, on April 7, 2008, and acknowledged such letter by return mail the same date.

 

4.   By letter dated April 14, 2008, and filed April 17, 2008, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying him copies of the records described in paragraph 2, above.

 

5.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy … whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, taped-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

6.   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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours…or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.    

 

7.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

8.  It is found that, to the extent the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above, such records are public records, within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G. S.

 

9.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant testified that he understands that the respondents have the right to intercept his mail and that what he was actually seeking are copies of records written about him to other agencies, including federal government agencies, and to the media. 

 

10.  The respondents contend that all records which have been requested by the complainant, to the extent that they exist, are exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of 1-210(b)(18), G. S.

 

11.  Section 1-210(b)(18), G.S., exempts from mandatory disclosure:

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….Such records shall include, but are not limited to:

(A)  Security manuals, including emergency plans contained or  

 referred to in such security manuals;

(B)  Engineering and architectural drawings of correctional institutions or facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities;

(C)  Operational specifications of security systems utilized by the Department of Correction at any correctional institution or facility or Whiting Forensic Division facilities, except that a general description of any such security system and the cost and quality of such system may be disclosed;

(D)  Training manuals prepared for correctional institutions and facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities that describe, in any manner, security procedures, emergency plans or security equipment;

(E)  Internal security audits of correctional institutions and facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities;

(F)  Minutes or recordings of staff meetings of the Department of Correction or Whiting Forensic Division facilities, or portions of such minutes or recordings, that contain or reveal information relating to security or other records otherwise exempt from disclosure under this subdivision;

(G)  Logs or other documents that contain information on the movement or assignment of inmates or staff at correctional institutions or facilities; and

(H)  Records that contain information on contacts between inmates, as defined in section 18-84, and law enforcement officers;

12.  It is found that the records sought by the complainant, to the extent they exist, would be contained in the security file maintained by the respondents concerning the complainant.  It is found that an inmate’s security file contains information on procedures taken with respect to the particular inmate that are necessary for maintaining the security of the institution.  It is further found that, if an inmate gains access to such information, he may take steps to circumvent the procedures in place and thwart the security measures of the respondents. 

 

13.  It is therefore concluded that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of the requested records may result in a risk of harm, including a risk of disorder in a correctional institution, and thus that the requested records are exempt under 1-210(b)(18), G. S. 

 

14.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G. S., by failing to provide the requested records to the complainant.

 

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 March 25, 2009.

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Lee A. Jupina #165101

Willard-Cybulski C I

391 Shaker Road

Enfield, CT 06082

 

Director, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

Security Division; and State of

Connecticut, Department of

Correction

C/o Sandra A. Sharr, Esq.

Connecticut Department of Correction

Legal Affairs Unit

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2008-270FD/sw/3/26/2009