Recidiviz and use of release algorithms (Department of Corrections)

Garance Burke filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Tennessee.
Multi Request Recidiviz and use of release algorithms


From: Kent Hoover

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act. We are making this request for an ongoing journalism collaborative, as a full-time journalism fellow at Stanford University and a full-time journalist with MuckRock. This request is made as part of newsgathering and intended for educational, not commercial use.

This is a request for materials regarding this agency’s procurement, purchasing process, and use of Recidiviz and any algorithm, decision tree, or equivalent for the purpose of population and release decisions for the period from December 31, 2019 through the date this request is processed.

Any available spreadsheet of all procurement requests issued by or on behalf of this agency to Recidiviz. Please include as responsive copies of any available or relevant Requests for Expressions of Interest, Requests For Proposal (or equivalent calls for bids), responses to Requests for Expressions of Interest, letters of interest, responses to Requests for Proposal, sole source or limited source justification and approval documentation, documentation of selection, and other materials generated in the consideration and selection of goods, services, software, or other actions sought by this agency.

Copies of any and all agreements entered into by this agency since December 31, 2019, as well as copies of all contract amendments, alterations to existing Statements of Work, and other changes made since December 31, 2019 to contractual agreements held by this agency with Recidiviz.

Please include as responsive:
• all contracts (as well as associated amendments, attachments, and exhibits),
• data sharing agreements
• insurance agreements
• intergovernmental services agreements
• licensing agreement
• memorandums of understanding, and
• nondisclosure agreements
Please provide a copy of any informal agreements, insurance agreements, liability waivers, and warranties entered into by this agency or on its behalf since December 31, 2019 with Recidiviz.

We would prefer the request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

We ask that you waive any and all applicable fees associated with this request. Through this request, we are gathering information on your agency’s procurement and purchasing policies in the context of COVID-19. This is among the agency’s core responsibilities and is of increasing concern to policymakers given the unfolding events triggered by the global health pandemic. Release of this information is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities, particularly how your agency administers its emergency health programs and communicates regarding its internal procedures, the adequacy of which have been challenged. If you deny this request for a fee waiver, please advise us in advance of the estimated charges if they are to exceed $100.

If our request is denied in whole or part, we ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. We will also expect you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. We reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.

We note that your agency cannot refuse disclosure on the grounds that its records may be incomplete. We also ask that you provide expedited review of this request, which concerns a newsworthy matter of current exigency to the American public that extends beyond the public’s general right to know about government activity and that implicates immediate policy and safety concerns for the public. The information sought relates to a currently unfolding story in which there is substantial interest, given the immediate threat that the deadly virus COVID-19 poses to human life and public safety. Second, delaying urgent release of the information harms the public interest in (i) preventing consistent public policy from being enacted in response to the ongoing problem; (ii) withholding key information from the public, as well as from government officials, necessary to understand how your agency has enacted policy in response to the global health pandemic; and (iii) cloaking your agency’s policy responses in secrecy. Fourth, the request obviously concerns currently unfolding government activity, as it seeks information on your agency’s current response to COVID-19. No information similar to what we are seeking already has been widely reported in some fashion, so the release of these records would present entirely new information to the public.

Finally, as one the world's preeminent universities, Stanford University is a credible requester. We certify that our statements concerning the need for expedited review are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. If you deny expedited processing, we expect to receive a response to the request promptly and within 7 business days, as the statute requires.

As we are making this request as journalists and the information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone 415 305 3535 or via the email address on this request, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request. Thank you for your assistance.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.


Garance Burke and Beryl Lipton

From: Department of Corrections

This will acknowledge the receipt of your request for information. Please be advised that your request for information is denied. You will need to provide proof of TN residency in order to request information. If you are a TN resident, please follow the attached instructions to submit your request through our online portal. Thank you.

Lori Priest | Director
Records Management Division
2nd Floor Rachel Jackson Building
320 6th Ave. North
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
615-253-8012 voice/ 615-532-1497 facsimile<><>