FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Faroulh Dorlette,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-284

Warden, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction, Northern Correctional

Institution; and State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

 
  Respondents April 27, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket # FIC 2010-361; Faroulh Dorlette v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction. Both matters were heard as contested cases on January 7, 2011, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared 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 the complainant made a records request dated March 29, 2010 for  copies of the S.R.G. tickets (Disciplinary Reports) issued to the complainant on August 23, 2006 and April 29, 2008, together with all records of evidence that supported the Disciplinary Reports (the “requested records”).

 

3.         It is found that, by letter dated April 8, 2010, the respondents acknowledged the request, and on May 5, 2010, the respondents provided copies of both requested Disciplinary Reports to the complainant.

 

4.         By letter dated April 28, 2010 and filed with the Commission on April 30, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) by failing to comply with his records request. The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.

 

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

 

“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 by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method. 

 

6.           Sections 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., state, respectively, in relevant parts:

 

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, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

 

Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.

 

7.         At the hearing, the complainant stated that his records request concerning the April 29, 2008 Disciplinary Report had been fully satisfied, but that he was still seeking eight pages that were attached to the August 23, 2006 Disciplinary Report (sometimes herein “the eight requested pages”).

 

8.         Officer Sokolowski, the FOIA/Litigation Officer for Northern Correctional Institution, credibly testified and it is found that the eight requested pages were gang related materials specific to the gang known as the “Bloods”. The term “S.R.G.” is an abbreviation for Security Risk Group and the complainant was given the August 23, 2006 Disciplinary Report for possession of the eight pages of gang related materials. The staff of the Department of Correction (“DOC”) attached the eight pages to the August 23, 2006 Disciplinary Report.

 

9.         The Commission takes administrative notice of its decision in Docket #FIC 2008-704, Jeffrey M. Pierce v. Kenneth Burticks, Administrative Captain, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, where an inmate's address book containing pornographic pictures and the residential address of at least one employee of the DOC was held to be contraband and not a public record within the meaning 1-200(5), G.S. For a detailed discussion of the significant law enforcement and disciplinary problems caused by organized gang activity inside correctional facilities, see Docket #FIC 2010-093; John C. Barletta v. Kimberly Weir, Acting Director of Security, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; Angel Quiros, Warden, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Northern Correctional Institution; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction. This decision details the manner in which gang related records are used for communication and the instigation of safety risk.

 

10.  Section 18-81, G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

The Commissioner of Correction shall administer, coordinate and control the operations of the department and shall be responsible for the overall supervision and direction of all institutions, facilities and activities of the department.  The commissioner shall establish rules for the administrative practices and custodial and rehabilitative methods of said institutions and facilities in accordance with recognized correctional standards.

 

11.     State of Connecticut Department of Correction Administrative Directive 6.10(3)(C) defines contraband as “[a]n item (1) not authorized to be in a facility, the grounds of a facility, a vehicle, a contract program area or in a inmate's possession; (2) that is authorized, but used in an unauthorized or prohibited manner; (3) that is authorized, but altered; or (4) ownership cannot be established.”

 

12.   State of Connecticut Department of Correction Administrative Directive 6.10(9) also provides that “[a]ny property found in the inmate's possession consistent with Section 3(C) of this Directive shall be considered contraband and disposed of in accordance with Section 31 of this Directive.”

 

13.   It is concluded that, because inmates are not authorized to possess gang related materials in a correctional facility, the eight requested pages are contraband pursuant to DOC Administrative Directive 6.10(3)(C). The complainant has attempted to use the FOIA to legally compel the return to him of contraband that DOC personnel had seized from him.

 

14.  It is concluded that the eight requested pages are not public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

15.   Given the findings and conclusions herein, there is no need to address the issue of civil penalties in this matter.

 

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 April 27, 2011.

 

 

 

__________________________

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:

 

Faroulh Dorlette, #306054

Northern Correctional Institution

287 Bilton Road

PO Box 665

Somers, CT 06071

 

Warden, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction, Northern Correctional

Institution; and State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction 

c/o Nicole Anker, Esq.

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-284/FD/paj/4/28/2011