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Final Decision FIC2011-123
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Joe Burgos Vega,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2011-123
Director of Religious Services,
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction; and
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction,
     Respondents
February 22, 2012

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 11, 2011, and January 23, 2012, at which times 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. By letter of complaint filed March 10, 2011, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his request for public records.
3. It is found that, on February 21, 2011, the complainant mailed a written request to the respondent Director of Religious Services for records regarding the donation of Halal meats for the Muslim inmate population. (The Commission takes administrative notice of the fact that the term Halal is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law.)
4. 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.
5. 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 . . . or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
6. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”

7. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S.
8. It is found that the respondent Director of Religious Services provided the complainant with copies of all the records in his custody regarding the donation of Halal meats to correctional institutions. Currently, the respondent Department of Correction does not permit the donation of Halal meats to correctional institutions, and further has no program for the purchase of Halal meats for inmates. Consequently, the respondents have few records concerning the subject of Halal meats for inmates.
9. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
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 February 22, 2012.
__________________________
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:
Joe Burgos Vega #130135
Cheshire Correctional Institution
900 Highland Avenue
Cheshire, CT  06410
Director of Religious Services, State of Connecticut Department of
Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction
c/o Steven R. Strom, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT  06106
and
Nancy Kase O’Brasky, Esq.
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2011-123/FD/cac/2/22/2012