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Final Decision FIC2015-352
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Jason Goode,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2015-352
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and
State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,
     Respondents
March 9, 2016

     The above-captioned matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2015-353; also captioned Jason Goode v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; State of Connecticut, Department of Correction.  Both matters were heard as contested cases on October 8, 2015, 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, 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 April 27, 2015, the complainant made a request to the respondents for copies of “redacted pages of the restrictive housing log book only to show any possible signatures from facility nursing staff on dates: April 12, 2015, April 22, 2015, April 21, 2015 and April 23, 2015” (the “requested records” or sometimes the “records”).
     3.  It is found that, by letter dated April 27, 2015, the respondents acknowledged and denied the request for the records, citing §1-210(b)(18)(G), G.S.
     4.  By letter of complaint dated May 13, 2015, and filed on May 20, 2015, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOI”) by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 2, above. 
  
     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 1-218, 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 that:
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 . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with 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 that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above, such records are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure. 
     9.  Relevant parts of §§1-210(b), 1-210(b)(18), and 1-210(b)(18)(G), G.S., provide, that:
“[n]othing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of…[r]ecords, 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: …[l]ogs or other documents that contain information on the movement or assignment of inmates or staff at correctional institutions or facilities….” (emphasis added).
     10.  It is found that even the redacted form of the unit log book that the complainant requested would disclose the first names and the schedule of the nurses at the correctional institution.
     11.  Moreover, it is concluded that §1-210(b)(18), G.S., together with §1-210(b)(18)(G), G.S., specifically states that “logs” and “documents that contain information on the movement…of…staff” shall be included as records “the Commissioner of Correction…has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk….”
     12.  Based upon the evidence produced at the hearing, it is concluded that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of the requested records may result in a safety risk, within the meaning of §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
     13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act when they withheld the requested records. 
     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 9, 2016.
__________________________
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:
Jason Goode #228240
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. and Nancy Kase O’Brasky, Esq.
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2015-352/FD/cac/3/9/2016