Inmate debt and fees policies/reports (State-level) (Department of Corrections)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Georgia.
Tracking #

12971

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

The following materials regarding the assessment, collection, and balances of inmate fees and debt:

• All policies and procedures regarding the goods, services, or any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable. Please include all policies on the garnishment/disbursement of funds from inmate accounts and wages (such as those related to mandatory saving, mandatory deductions, coverage of care, personal necessities, etc.), as well as all relevant reporting requirements. Please include all relevant data as regards to medical payments, room and board costs, meal fees, stamps and postage, hygienic materials, and any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable, etc.

• All reports, databases, spreadsheets, or equivalent materials regarding current debts/restitution paid to or owed to this department or any facility/agency under its jurisdiction. Please include all available segregable information (excluding individual personally-identifying elements, as necessary and appropriate), including but not limited to the reason for the debt/fee, the amount of the debt, the facility at which the debt was incurred, whether the debt is held by an inmate in custody or released, any available individual data regarding record of prior release, etc.

If further clarification is necessary, a phone call will happily be arranged.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

From: Mitchell, Jason

To whom it may concern:

The Department has received your Open Records Act request regarding inmate fees. The Department is gathering records that are responsive to your request. I anticipate responding to your request on or about May 27, 2016.

Sincerely,

Jason Mitchell
Assistant Counsel
Georgia Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Services
478-992-5243
jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov>

Please send all requests for records to open.records@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:open.records@gdc.ga.gov>.

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. Mitchell,

Thank you for your message!

Best,
Beryl

From: Mitchell, Jason

The purpose of this correspondence is to respond to your Open Records Act request from April 28, 2016.

1. Request: All policies and procedures regarding the goods, services, or any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable. Please include all policies on the garnishment/disbursement of funds from inmate accounts and wages (such as those related to mandatory saving, mandatory deductions, coverage of care, personal necessities, etc.), as well as all relevant reporting requirements. Please include all relevant data as regards to medical payments, room and board costs, meal fees, stamps and postage, hygienic materials, and any other expenses for which inmates are or may become liable, etc.

Response: The Department is providing you with the following SOPs which we believe are responsive to this request.

101.07

201.04

209.01

210.04

215.19

215.19 Attachment A

221.03

227.03

227.06

228.02

356

406.19

407.02

407.03

409.04.08

409.04.08 Attachment 1

409.05.01

409.05.01 Attachment 1

507.04.01

507.04.05

507.04.22

507.04.27

507.04.49

507.04.51

507.05.03

The Department is also providing you with the table of contents for the SOPs. If you believe another SOP is responsive, please contact me.

2. Request: All reports, databases, spreadsheets, or equivalent materials regarding current debts/restitution paid to or owed to this department or any facility/agency under its jurisdiction. Please include all available segregable information (excluding individual personally-identifying elements, as necessary and appropriate), including but not limited to the reason for the debt/fee, the amount of the debt, the facility at which the debt was incurred, whether the debt is held by an inmate in custody or released, any available individual data regarding record of prior release, etc.

Response: O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(c)(1) allows agencies to impose reasonable fees for the search, retrieval, redaction, and production or copying costs for the production of records. The Department’s analysts believe that it will take three hours to pull this data. The rate of pay for the analyst who would do the work is $18.97 per hour. The cost of retrieving the data is estimated to be $56.91. Please let me know if you are willing to pay those fees.
If you believe there are other records that are responsive to your request, please let me know.

Jason Mitchell
Assistant Counsel
Georgia Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Services
478-992-5243
jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov>

Please send all requests for records to open.records@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:open.records@gdc.ga.gov>.

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. Mitchell,

Thanks so much for your help so far. Could you please clarify what materials I can expect if I provide the requested fee?

Best,
Beryl

From: Mitchell, Jason

I forwarded your requests to our data analysts. Normally, this sort of request comes out as an Excel spreadsheet. What I would expect is spreadsheet that has a tracking number for a transaction, a brief description, an amount, and possibly the facility. However, this requests exceeds the capability of the software that is normally used for producing reports because it includes millions of rows of data that would be extracted.

It sounds like this will be a special query, so it is difficult to know what the data would look like.

If the request was limited to active inmates or limited to a date range, the results would be more predictable.

Jason Mitchell
Assistant Counsel
Georgia Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Services
478-992-5243
jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. Mitchell,

Thank you so much for your help with this. I understand that it's a large request, and I appreciate you accommodating it. Please do let me know if you suspect that the fee will be greater than the ~$60 you previously estimated.

I hope the holiday weekend is wonderful to you!

Best wishes,
Beryl

From: Mitchell, Jason

Could we provide you with the information for either all of the inmates or all of the transactions for a year of your choice? That would allow our normal data analysts rather than the programmers. You would then have a sample to determine if you want a more complete record.

Jason Mitchell
Assistant Counsel
Georgia Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Services
478-992-5243
jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov>

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. Mitchell,

Apologies for the delay. If we could limit this request to all transactions from 2015 and 2016, would that be more manageable?

Thanks so much for your help!

Best,
Beryl

From: Department of Corrections

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Mitchell, Jason

Ms. Lipton:

I am providing you with the data from 2015. The file is too large to e-mail, so I am mailing it on a CD-R.

Since the Department of Corrections Central Banking Unit manages fees for inmates and probationers, the data includes information from both populations. Our analysts told me that we cannot separate the fees charged to probationers.

Sincerely,

Jason Mitchell
Assistant Counsel
Georgia Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Services
478-992-5243
jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov<mailto:jason.mitchell@gdc.ga.gov>

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