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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prisoner Not Entitled to Copies under FOIA

A little known FOIA provision exempts from disclosure "records requested by persons committed to the Department of Corrections if those materials are available in the library of the correctional facility where the inmate is confined."  5 ILCS 140/7(1)(e-5).  That exemption is the subject of PAC opinion 13 for 2014.   
In PAC Op. 14-013, the PAC determined that IDOC did not violate FOIA by refusing to make copies of Administrative Directives for a prisoner where those documents were available for inspection in the prison library.  The PAC relied on legislative history demonstrating that the purpose of this exemption was to preclude inmates from using FOIA to obtain records that were already available to them in the library.
So, no public body violation in this opinion, although the opinion is pretty limited in its application, since the cited exemption only applies to the Department of Corrections.  Still, it's a nice change from "public body violates..."
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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