Housing Options for Formerly Incarcerated People (Department of Corrections)

Sarika Ram filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania.
Multi Request Housing Options for Formerly Incarcerated People
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Sarika Ram


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act, I hereby request the following records:

-Any informational and educational materials distributed in correctional facilities about housing options available to inmates post-release
-Any currently valid policies/procedures detailing Department reentry services specific to accessing housing options post-release
-Any statistical reports detailing admission and release trends from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
-Any statistical reports detailing recidivism data from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
-Any statistical reports regarding inmates' housing status prior to and following commitment to the Department from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017

Please provide materials from all state correctional facilities and on a rolling basis, as they become available.

If you have any questions, please feel free to clarify via phone at 610-637-7745.

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 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Sarika Ram

From: Department of Corrections

Dear Ms. Ram,

This email acknowledges receipt by the Department of Corrections of your written request for records under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). Your request was received by this office on October 26, 2018. Therefore, under the RTKL, a written response to your request is due on or before November 2, 2018. This response is provided pursuant to that requirement. This response is an interim response to your request. A final response will be sent at a later time as outlined below.

You are hereby notified that, for the reason set forth below, the Department will require an additional 30 calendar days, i.e. until November 30, 2018, in which to provide a final written response to your request:

* A legal review is necessary to determine whether the record requested is subject to access under the Act.

At this time, the Department is unable to provide you with an estimated cost to fulfill your current request if it is granted. Any actual or estimated fees will be identified in the Department's future response.

Sincerely,

Andrew Filkosky | Agency Open Records Officer
Department of Corrections | Office of Chief Counsel
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Phone: 717.728.7770 | Fax: 717.728.0312
www.cor.pa.gov<http://www.cor.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION
ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended recipient is prohibited. If you receive this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

From: Department of Corrections

Dear Ms. Ram,

This response acknowledges receipt by the Department of Corrections of your written request for records under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). Your request was received by this office on November 13, 2018.

To the extent that your requests for "Any informational and educational materials distributed in correctional facilities about housing options available to inmates post-release" and "Any currently valid policies/procedures detailing Department reentry services specific to accessing housing options post-release" are for the attached documents labeled Items 1 and 2, your request is granted. These records are attached to this email at no charge. Regarding the documents responsive to these items of your request from Adams County, please be aware that we have similar documents available for most Pennsylvania Counties. Feel free to submit a new request for if you would like these similar records pertaining to another county.

To the extent that your requests for "Any informational and educational materials distributed in correctional facilities about housing options available to inmates post-release" and "Any currently valid policies/procedures detailing Department reentry services specific to accessing housing options post-release" are for information other than the attached documents labeled Items 1 and 2, your request is denied for the following reason:

* Your request fails to identify or describe the records that you seek with sufficient specificity to enable the RTKL Office to ascertain which records that you seek. Consequently, your request is denied pursuant to 65 P.S. § 67.703.

Your request contains no limitation with regard to time and subject matter. This request does not provide sufficient descriptive information in any or all of the categories noted by the Office of Open Records in Hocker v. Young Scholars, OOR Dkt. AP 2009-0901, to enable the Department to determine what information is sought and to locate responsive records. Under both laws, Pennsylvania's courts have consistently held that insufficiently specific requests can be properly denied. See, Anderson v. City of Philadelphia, OOR Docket # 2009-0618 (9/25/09); Nanayakkara v. Casella, 681 A.2d 857, 859-60 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1996); Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., v. Pennsylvania Department of General Services, 747 A.2d 962 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2000).

In addition, Section 703 of the RTKL precludes requests which require "files to be reviewed and judgments made as to the relation of the documents to the specific request." Department of Environmental Protection v. Legere, 50 A.3d 260, 264 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2012). Rather, "a clearly-defined universe of documents" must be requested such that "there are no judgments to be made as to whether the documents are 'related' to the request" because the documents either do or do not fall within the ambit of the request. Id. at 265. In determining whether a request satisfies Section 703 of the RTKL, "the specificity of a request must be construed in the request's context, rather than envisioning everything the request might conceivably encompass." Askew v. Pennsylvania Office of Governor, 65 A.3d 989, 992 (Pa. Cmwlth.) (per curiam), appeal denied, 621 Pa. 660, 72 A.3d 604 (Pa. 2013).

Further, many of the possible records may be exempt for the following reason:

* The record(s) that you requested do not currently exist. When responding to a request for access, an agency is not required to create a record which does not currently exist or to compile, format or organize a public record in a manner in which it does not currently compile, format or organize the public record. 65 P.S. § 67.705; See Moore v. Office of Open Records, 992 A.2d 907, 909 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010)("The Department cannot grant access to a record that does not exist. Because under the current RTKL the Department cannot be made to create a record which does not exist, the OOR properly denied [the] ... appeal."); See also Bargeron v. Department of Labor and Industry, 720 A.2d 500 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1998). See also McGowan v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 103 A.3d 374, 382-83 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014) ("In the absence of any competent evidence that the agency acted in bad faith or that the agency records exist, "the averments in the [d]epartment's affidavits should be accepted as true.").

You are not precluded from refining and submitting a new request with more specific detail.

Your request for "Any statistical reports detailing admission and release trends from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017" is granted. A record labeled Item 3 has been attached to this email at no charge.

Your requests for "Any statistical reports detailing recidivism data from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017" and "Any statistical reports regarding inmates' housing status prior to and following commitment to the Department from between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017" are denied for the following reason:

* The record(s) that you requested do not currently exist. When responding to a request for access, an agency is not required to create a record which does not currently exist or to compile, format or organize a public record in a manner in which it does not currently compile, format or organize the public record. 65 P.S. § 67.705; See Moore v. Office of Open Records, 992 A.2d 907, 909 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010)("The Department cannot grant access to a record that does not exist. Because under the current RTKL the Department cannot be made to create a record which does not exist, the OOR properly denied [the] ... appeal."); See also Bargeron v. Department of Labor and Industry, 720 A.2d 500 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1998). See also McGowan v. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 103 A.3d 374, 382-83 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014) ("In the absence of any competent evidence that the agency acted in bad faith or that the agency records exist, "the averments in the [d]epartment's affidavits should be accepted as true.").

You have a right to appeal this denial of information in writing to the Executive Director, Office of Open Records (OOR), 333 Market Street, 16th Floor, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101. If you choose to file an appeal you must do so within 15 business days of the mailing date of this response and send to the OOR:

1) this response; 2) your request; and 3) the reason why you think the agency is wrong in its reasons for saying that the record is not public (a statement that addresses any ground stated by the agency for the denial). If the agency gave several reasons why the record is not public, state which ones you think were wrong.

Also, the OOR has an appeal form available on the OOR website at:

http://www.openrecords.pa.gov/RTKL/Forms.cfm.

Sincerely,

Andrew Filkosky | Agency Open Records Officer
Department of Corrections | Office of Chief Counsel
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Phone: 717.728.7770 | Fax: 717.728.0312
www.cor.pa.gov<http://www.cor.pa.gov>

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION
ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any use of this information other than by the intended recipient is prohibited. If you receive this message in error, please send a reply e-mail to the sender and delete the material from any and all computers. Unintended transmissions shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege.

Warning An exclamation point.

There are too many files to display on this communication. See all files

Files

pages

Close