Court tells DOCCS it cannot withhold names of correction officers
May 06, 2019 11:30 am
Dan M. Clark is reporting for the New York Law Journal an appellate court in Albany has ruled that the names of correction officers can not be withheld from the public seeking documents under the freedom of information law concerning incidents reported in state prisons, including when force is used against an incarcerated person. The Appellate Division, Third Department found that a section of state civil rights law often used by law enforcement to shield certain records from disclosure did not apply in this case. The case was filed three years ago by Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York. According to the group, unusual incident reports, use of force reports, inmate behavioral reports, and other records, were previously provided complete with officers' names, without redactions. Beginning three years ago, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision began redacting large portions of the documents, making it more difficult for attorneys to hold correction officers accountable for inappropriate behavior. “I think the importance of this case is that it continues to ensure some level of transparency in prisons,” said Karen Murtagh, PLSNY executive director. A spokesperson for DOCCS said the agency was reviewing the decision and declined to comment further. Read the full story in the New York Law Journal.