RI Corrections Gang Association Policy

Lucas Smolcic Larson filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Rhode Island .
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Communications

From: Lucas Smolcic Larson


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

-the full text of any policy used by the Department of Corrections to designate inmates as belonging to a gang
-the criteria governing an inmate's inclusion in a Department of Corrections gang database or list

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 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Lucas Smolcic Larson

From: Department of Corrections

November 18, 2019

Dear Mr. Larson:

I am writing in response to your Access to Public Records Act request received via email on November 3, 2019 (see below), in which you requested: 1) the full text of any policy used by the Department of Corrections to designate inmates as belonging to a gang; and, 2) the criteria governing the inmate's inclusion in a Department of Corrections gang database or list.

Attached, you will find a document entitled "Security Risk Group (SRG) Inmates". Please be advised the RIDOC has no policy relating solely to gang affiliations. This policy relates to your request in that it outlines protocols relating to security risk Inmates in general. This policy in not public due to the sensitive safety and security concerns surrounding SRG individuals. However, I have redacted certain portions of the policy and provided the remainder. Pursuant to RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(a)(II)(D) - Records maintained by law enforcement agencies for criminal law enforcement and records relating to the detection and investigation of crime, are not public to the extent they may reasonably be expected to interfere with investigations of criminal activity or with enforcement proceedings, or would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. Also, pursuant to RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(A)(2)(F) The security plans of military and law enforcement agencies, the disclosure of which would endanger the public welfare and security are not considered public.

In accordance with Rhode Island General Laws §38-2-8, if you are dissatisfied with this response you may wish to file a complaint with the Department of the Attorney General, 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI, 02903, or the Rhode Island Superior Court of Providence County. Additional information concerning the Access to Public Records Act is available through the Attorney General's website at www.riag.ri.gov. <http://www.riag.ri.gov.%20>

Sincerely,

\s\ Kathleen Kelly

Executive Counsel
Rhode Island Department of Corrections

From: Lucas Smolcic Larson

Thank you, Ms. Kelly. A couple points of clarification:

You cite RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(a)(II)(D). To meet this exemption records must meet one of the following criteria.

"(a) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with investigations of criminal activity or with enforcement proceedings; (b) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication; (c) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (d) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or authority, or any private institution that furnished information on a confidential basis, or the information furnished by a confidential source; (e) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions; or (f) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual. Records relating to management and direction of a law enforcement agency and records or reports reflecting the initial arrest of an adult and the charge or charges brought against an adult shall be public."

I am unclear no how your reactions can be justified under this section. The policy appears to apply to inmates that have been convicted a crime and are serving a sentence within the RIDOC (i.e. have already been prosecuted and investigated). In addition, I don't see how your redactions could be construed to be preventing an invasion of privacy or protecting the identity of a source, since this is a general policy. Please cite a specific exemption under this section.

I am also unclear on how the information you have withheld "endangers the public welfare and security," per RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(A)(2)(F). The risk group classifications appear to be used to monitor inmates within the state's care. Without any knowledge of which inmates these classifications apply to, I cannot see how knowledge of the classification criteria endangers public safety.

Please elaborate and specify as you are able. If not, I will be filing a complaint with the Attorney General's Office.

Thank you,

Lucas Smolcic Larson

From: Department of Corrections

SENT ON BEHALF OF EXECUTIVE LEGAL COUNSEL, KATHLEEN M. KELLY, ESQ.

Good Morning Mr. Larson: Please allow this email to advise that Attorney Kelly is out of the office today attending meetings. She is expected back tomorrow and will address your inquiries per below then.

Thank you and should you require anything further in the interim, please feel free to contact me.

Diane M. Gill
Office Manager
Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Counsel
40 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-5168
Fax: (401) 462-2583
Email: Diane.Gill@doc.ri.gov<mailto:Diane.Gill@doc.ri.gov>

Confidentiality Notice: The information transmitted in this email is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed. This email may contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable Federal or State law. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use by persons or entities other than the intended recipient(s) is prohibited. If you received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the material from any computer.

“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”-Sigmund Freud

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From: Lucas Smolcic Larson

Thank you. I'll look forward to a response sometime tomorrow.

Best,

Lucas

From: Department of Corrections

Dear Mr. Larson:

I am responding to your request for clarification received on November 19, 2019. I apologize for the confusion. I should have been more specific in regards to the applicable provisions under RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(a)(II)(D). “All records maintained by law enforcement agencies for criminal law enforcement and all records relating to the detection and investigation of crime, including those maintained on any individual or compiled in the course of a criminal investigation by any law enforcement agency are not public if ( e) it would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. The redactions on page 3 of the policy were out of concern for the investigatory process conducted by the DOC (which is a law enforcement agency) to determine if an individual incarcerated at the department is a member of a special risk group, why, and their level of dangerousness to other inmates, or in the alternative the level to which they are in endanger from other inmates. My concern was primarily due to disclosure of DOC investigatory techniques to the public, including the inmate population. However, I have spoken with staff in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and have been told that the individual who is the subject of the investigation is informed of the investigation and the ultimate designation as a member of a Security Risk Group. Given that the inmate is informed of the process and conclusion, I have decided that portion of the policy should be public.

Regarding the redactions on page 4 and 5, your request was for the full text of any policy used by the DOC to designate inmates as belonging to a gang. As I indicated in my initial response, the department has no policy relating to procedures for designation of inmates as belonging to a gang. The only policy that is somewhat responsive is the one I sent you – DOC policy 9.34-5, which outlines the procedures for identifying inmates as a security risk for any reason (ie. notorious crime, attempted escape, known sexual predator). The redacted portions were not relevant to your request; however, upon further review the sections on page 5 could relate on some level so I am providing that to you.

Regarding the redactions on page 6, this portion was redacted because it describes protocols for transporting security risk group inmates (SRG) outside of the facilities – ie. medical visits, transportation to court. Redaction of this section is based upon RIGL § 38-2-2(4)(A)(2)(F), the security plans of law enforcement agencies, the disclosure of which would endanger the public welfare and security. Clearly, the security protocols followed by DOC when inmates are outside the facilities and in the community are not public due to the safety and security risks of disclosing these plans.

To summarize I am resending the policy with revised redactions. Pages 1 and 2 are unchanged, page 3 is now being provided in its entirety, page 4 remains redacted, page 5 is provided, page 6 remains redacted, and page 7 is unchanged.

In accordance with Rhode Island General Laws §38-2-8, if you are dissatisfied with this response you may wish to file a complaint with the Department of the Attorney General, 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI, 02903, or the Rhode Island Superior Court of Providence County. Additional information concerning the Access to Public Records Act is available through the Attorney General's website at http://www.riag.ri.gov. <http://www.riag.ri.gov.%20><https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.riag.ri.gov.-2520-253E&d=DwQFaQ&c=tSLbvWYfvulPN3G_n48TUw&r=jq2u7p0qpsU4Hd_bQdv-QiBI-SfLvhgrb67c0NqOKCo&m=n0xaOuH8sN_w1H1SHkrOhg7YNLJe5w_jMv1zSntiPpg&s=ZpDRk0RKsal4CjbsFhlLlxgxSePD-q3o0jfev4StY3Q&e=>

Sincerely,

\s\ Kathleen Kelly

Executive Counsel
Rhode Island Department of Corrections

From: Lucas Smolcic Larson

Thank you. I don't believe I've received the revised-redaction policy. Could you please try re-sending it?

Best,

Lucas

From: Department of Corrections

Mr. Larson,

I apologize. it is attached to this email

Kathy Kelly

From: Lucas Smolcic Larson

Dear Ms. Kelly,

I've just had a chance to review the email you sent at the end of the week and the updated redactions. I wanted to say that I greatly appreciate your efforts to explain those--the transparency means a lot, and I recognize that you aren't necessarily obligated to do so under the APRA statute.

I have one more question. I've never received portions of documents redacted on the grounds that they are not responsive to my request (i.e. pages 4 and 5 of policy 9.34-5). Usually when an agency provides a document in response to a request it is provided in its entirety, except for portions that are exempt under the statute. I understand the APRA exemptions you have cited to redact other parts of the document, but I'm unsure which exemption you're citing for page 4, specifically.

I would like to inspect this page. If necessary, please consider this email a request pursuant to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act for page 4 of RI DOC policy 9.34.5. If you are going to continue to withhold the the text of that page, kindly cite an exemption under the statute.

Thank you,

Lucas Smolcic Larson

From: Department of Corrections

SENT ON BEHALF OF EXECUTIVE LEGAL COUNSEL, KATHLEEN M. KELLY, ESQ.

Good Morning Mr. Larson: The below inquiry is being treated as a separate APRA Request. Accordingly, attached please find Page 4 of the Policy.

Thank you.

Diane M. Gill
Office Manager
Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Office of Legal Counsel
40 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-5168
Fax: (401) 462-2583
Email: Diane.Gill@doc.ri.gov<mailto:Diane.Gill@doc.ri.gov>

Confidentiality Notice: The information transmitted in this email is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed. This email may contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable Federal or State law. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use by persons or entities other than the intended recipient(s) is prohibited. If you received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the material from any computer.

“It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”-Sigmund Freud

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From: Lucas Smolcic Larson

Thank you both!

Best,

Lucas

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