Alabama agency charges $25 “processing fee” before they’ll accept a public records request

AL Department of Corrections heard you like FOIA fees …

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

Fees, bane of the FOIA requester’s existence, are an unfortunate everyday hurdle in the fight for the freedom of information. But some states go beyond the common reimbursements that agencies - local to federal - levy against individuals for the costs of copies or the self-determined hours of disruption caused by searching.

Alabama, for one, and its Attorney General are of the opinion that agencies may charge reasonable fees associated with search…

… allowing its agencies to preemptively assess the financial burden associated with beginning a search at all.

And while some agencies don’t choose to utilize an initial fee or even the requester residency requirement written into the State’s law…

… the State’s Department of Corrections, for one, uses the provision to wage a initial fee for every request at whopping $25 a pop.

A hefty processing fee up front coupled with the agency-dictated necessity of a specific form …

and the possibility of getting slapped with the residency restriction? That’s just the sort of knot of deterrents we hate to see.

Have your own record policy hangups? Let us know at info@muckrock.com.


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