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Final Decision FIC2013-265
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Chywon Wright,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-265
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
March 12, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 6, 2014, at which time the complainant and 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 on March 8, 2013, the complainant requested copies of:
a. all communications from four named administrative officials of the respondents to the complainant, and copies of all communications from the complainant to such individuals from December 1, 2010 through August 31, 2011;
b. all inmate administrative remedy forms completed by the complainant at the  Northern Correctional Institution between December 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011; and
c. all disciplinary reports and incident reports concerning the February 16, 2011 inmate-on-inmate assault.
     3.  It is found that on April 4, 2013, the complainant reiterated his request of March 8, 2013, described in paragraph 2, above.

     4.  By letter of complaint filed May 1, 2013, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of the records he requested. 
     5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:
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, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-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 … receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
     7.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
     8.  It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     9.  With respect to the complainant’s request for copies of communications to and from four administrative officials and the complainant, it is found that the respondents maintain no records responsive to the complainant’s request.  Specifically, it is found that any response from any of the officials to the complainant’s Inmate Request in which the complainant requested a change of cell assignment would have been written on the request form itself and returned to the complainant.  It is found that the respondents do not maintain records responsive to the complainant’s request.
     10. With respect to the complainant’s request for copies of administrative remedy forms completed by the complainant, as described in paragraph 2.b, above, it is found that the respondents retrieved such records from Northern Correctional Institution and provided them to the complainant at McDougal-Walker Correctional Institution on June 7, 2013. 
     11. With respect to the complainant’s request for copies of disciplinary and incident reports pertaining to an assault that occurred on February 16, 2011, as described in paragraph 2.c, above, it is found that the complainant is not the transgressor in such assault and, therefore, was not the person disciplined.  The respondents claim §1-210(b)(18), G.S., exempts from disclosure any incident and disciplinary records resulting from the assault.
     12. Section 1-210(b)(18), G.S., provides, in relevant part, that “[n]othing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure 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….
     13. It is found that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of incident and disciplinary reports against a perpetrator of an inmate-on-inmate assault may result in a safety risk, within the meaning of §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
     14. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate §1-210(a) and §1-212(a), G.S., by withholding such records from 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 dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 12, 2014.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
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:

Chywon Wright #364261
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
1153 East Street South
Suffield, CT  06080
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and
State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o James Neil, Esq.
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-265/FD/cac/3/12/2014