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

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Tennessee.


From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Tennessee's Public 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 7 business days, as the statute requires.


From: Beryl Lipton

Hi there,

This request has not yet been acknowledged. Confirmation of receipt would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

From: Torrey S. Grimes

Ms. Lipton,

I am writing in response to your April 28, 2016 Public Records Request. I apologize for any delay in response, as this particular request did not reach my desk until late last week. As a threshold matter, please be advised that the Tennessee Public Records Act and related Court decisions make it clear that responses to out-of-state parties is discretionary. Our response is therefore provided without waiving any discretion.

As I understand your request, you are seeking information about costs that an inmate may become financially liable for while that inmate is in custody. Attached to this email, I have included a .zip file of polices that outline some of the items and circumstances in which an inmate may incur "costs". Included in the policies you will find information relative to deductions, health co-pays, possible fines to inmates, and other financial items.

It is important to note that there are certain fines, court costs, and litigation costs (both conviction related and inmate initiated civil court costs) that an inmate may be responsible for. Those are usually established by Court Order.

It is also important to note that State law provides several avenues for collection of incarceration costs in certain circumstances.

The second point of your request appears overbroad in that you do not identify a specific area in which to begin our search of the thousands upon thousands of inmate records that could be responsive to the request as presented. However, if after you review the policies provided, we will certainly review a request that is substantially narrowed in scope.

Torrey S. Grimes, JD, MBA | Attorney
6th Floor Rachel Jackson Building
320 6th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243
p. 615-253-8240 f. 615.741.9280

CONFIDENTIALITY: The information contained in this e-mail message, including any attachments, is intended only for the personal, confidential and privileged (either legally or otherwise) use of the individual to which it is addressed. The email message and attachments may contain confidential information that is protected by Attorney/Client privilege and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are notified that any review, use, disclosure, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please contact the sender by reply e-mail immediately and destroy all copies of the original message.