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Final Decision FIC2011-066
In the Matter of a Complaint by  Brandon Holloway,   
Complainant    against    Docket #FIC 2011-066
State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Cheshire Correctional
Institution; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,
Respondents January 11, 2012
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 30, 2011 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 letter dated January 2, 2011, the complainant made a request to the respondents for a copy of the video recording of his transfer from general population to restricted housing.
3. It is found that by letter dated January 13, 2011, the respondents denied the complainant’s request stating that the video recording was exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b), Access to Public Records. Exempt Records.
4. By letter dated January 28, 2011 and filed on February 8, 2011, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with his records request.
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.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 . . . receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 
7.At times relevant to this matter, §1-212(a), G.S., provided 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 the requested record is a public record within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
9.At the hearing on this matter, the respondents contended that the video recording is exempt from mandatory disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(18), G.S.  The respondents contended that because the video recording depicts the level of security in areas of the facility, as well as the level of security used to transfer inmates, and because such information could be used to breach the security of the facility, disclosure of the video recording would create a safety and security risk to inmates and staff of the facility.
10.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.... 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.
11.It is found, based upon the evidence produced at the hearing in this matter, that the Commissioner of Correction has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of the video recording, described in paragraph 2, above, may result in a safety risk, within the meaning of §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
12.It is therefore concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by 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 January 11, 2012.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission