Anyone with experience getting inmate death information in Texas (TDCJ)
Asked by Sarah Rafique on October 24, 2016.
I requested criminal death investigation reports regarding two different inmate deaths, one considered accidental the other homicide. For the accidental death, I received 60+ pages of documents, some of which surprised me that it wasn’t redacted. It included internal communications, emails, witness statements from guards and other inmates, etc.
The homicide only yielded four pages of basic information. In fact, a former reporter got more details from a past open records request she submitted when the investigation was still open.
Other than basic information, all other information was denied because it included an employee’s personal information. I’m not sure why they couldn’t just redact the personal information. I appealed and lost. I really have no clue how much information they’re withholding, so I asked if they could send me a list of the types of documents in the file (witness statements, internal communications, etc.) or give me an idea as to how big the file is, but they declined.
At this point it’s looking like I’m going to write a story about our efforts and their transparency. Am I off base in thinking I should have recieved way more information? If anyone has requested investigation reports for TDCJ inmates, I’d love to hear from you to see what kind of info you got back. If you’d rather talk on the phone, my office number is 806-766-2159 and email is sarah(dot)rafique(at)lubbockonline(dot)com