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HRDC v. BOP, D.C., Complaint, FOIA Request, 2018

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Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 1 of 9

U N I T E D S TAT E S D I S C T R I C T C O U RT
F O R T H E D I S T R I C T O F C O LUM B I A
H UM A N R I G H T S D E F E N S E C E N T E R
1028 N Federal Highway
Lake Worth FL 33460

)
)
)
)
Plaintiff,
)
)
v.
)
)
B U R E AU O F P R I S O N S
)
320 First Street, NW
)
Washington, DC 20534
)
Defendant.
)
_______________________________________ )

Civil Action
No.

COMPLAINT

1.

This lawsuit is an action under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, et seq.,
seeking production of records responsive to requests submitted by the Human Rights
Defense Center to the Bureau of Prisons.

Ju r i s d i c t i o n a n d V e n u e
2.

This Court has both subject matter jurisdiction over this action and personal jurisdiction
over the defendant under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 2201(a) and 2202.

3.

Venue is appropriate in this Court under to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) and 28 U.S.C. §1391.

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 2 of 9

Pa rt i e s
4.

Plaintiff Human Rights Defense Center is a non-profit charitable organization incorporated
in the state of Washington, with principal offices in Lake Worth, Florida.

5.

Defendant Bureau of Prisons is a component of the United States Department of Justice
and an agency under 5 U.S.C. §552(f)(1) and 5 U.S.C. § 701.

Fa c t s
H u m a n R i g h t s D e f e n s e C e n t e r ’s B a c k g r o u n d a n d M i s s i o n
6.

The Human Rights Defense Center was founded in 1990. It is dedicated to public
education, prisoner education, advocacy, and outreach to support the rights of prisoners
and to further basic human rights.

7.

The Human Rights Defense Center’s publishing project distributes books to prisoners
and other customers. It also publishes two monthly magazines, Criminal Legal News and
Prison Legal News.

8.

In addition to publishing, the Human Rights Defense Center engages is advocacy and
education.

Page 2 of 9

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 3 of 9

T h e B u r e au o f P r i s o n s
9.

The Bureau of Prisons is the nation’s federal prison system, established in 1930.

10.

Currently, it is responsible for over 183,000 people committed to its custody, and
operates 122 carceral facilities across the country.

11.

According

the

Bureau

of

Prisons’s

website,

https://www.Bureau

of

Prisons.gov/inmates/communications.jsp (last visited April 22, 2018), “Studies show
that when inmates maintain relationships with friends and family, it greatly reduces the
risk they will recidivate.”
12.

To handle commissary accounts, the Bureau of Prisons runs the Trust Fund Accounting
and Commissary System, TRUFACS.

13.

The Bureau of Prisons operates a telephone system to help people maintain ties with
their families and other community contacts. The system is called TRUFONE.

14.

Because electronic communication has become a standard means of communication, the
Bureau of Prisons also operates an electronic messaging system, the Trust Fund Limited
Inmate Computer System, TRULINCS, available at all facilities.

15.

TRULINCS was developed and is operated, at least in part, by Advanced Technologies
Group.

16.

Advanced Technologies Group is an operating company of Keefe Group.

Page 3 of 9

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 4 of 9

17.

The Bureau of Prisons allows people in its custody to receive money in their commissary
accounts through the commercial services MoneyGram and Western Union.

18.

When a person is released from custody, any funds remaining in their TRUFACS
account are given to them on a debit card, with limited exceptions.

19.

At least some of these debit cards are provided by Chase, the United States consumer
and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Company.

The Request for Information at Issue
20.

On April 10, 2015, the Human Rights Defense Center sent a request to the Bureau of
Prisons for documents about TRUFONE, TRULINCS, money transfers, and debit
cards.

21.

The letter requested:
i.

All contracts or other agreements, including all exhibits, addenda, and
extensions, between the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau of Prisons) and
any provider of telephone services for use by prisoners or other detainees
that have been in effect at any time between 2010 and the request date.

ii.

Documents detailing all payments made to or on behalf of the Bureau of
Prisons from or on behalf of any telephone service provider between 2010
and the request date.
Page 4 of 9

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 5 of 9

iii.

Documents detailing rates for telephone calls made by prisoners or other
detainees of the Bureau of Prisons that have been in effect at any time
between 2010 and the request date.

iv.

Documents detailing all fees related to use of telephone services by the
prisoners or other detainees of the Bureau of Prisons that have been in effect
at any time between 2010 and the request date. This request specifically
includes all ancillary fees incurred by people who accept calls from prisoners
or other detainees, including any fees related to prepaid phone accounts.

v.

All contracts or other agreements, including exhibits, addenda, and
extensions, between the Bureau of Prisons and any provider of email or
electronic messaging services for use by prisoners or other detainees that
have been in effect at any time between 2010 and the request date.

vi.

Records detailing all payments made to or on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons
from or on behalf of any provider of email or electronic messaging services
for use by prisoners or other detainees between 2010 and the request date.

vii.

Documents detailing rates for email or electronic messaging services for use
by prisoners or other detainees at the Bureau of Prisons that have been in
effect at any time between 2010 and the request date.

viii.

Documents detailing all ancillary fees related to email or electronic
messaging services for use by prisoners or other detainees at the Bureau of

Page 5 of 9

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 6 of 9

Prisons that have been in effect at any time from January 1, 2010 to the
request date.
ix.

All contracts or other agreements, including exhibits, addenda and
extensions, between the Bureau of Prisons and any provider of services used
to transfer funds to people upon their release from incarceration by the
Bureau of Prisons, that have been in effect at any time between 2010 and the
request date.

x.

Records detailing all payments made to or on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons
from or on behalf of any provider of services used to transfer funds to people
upon their release from incarceration by the Bureau of Prisons between 2010
and the request date.

xi.

Documents detailing all ancillary fees related to the transfer of funds to
people upon their release from incarceration by the Bureau of Prisons,
including, but not limited to, all cardholder agreements that have been in
effect at any time between 2010 and the request date.

xii.

All contracts or other agreements, including exhibits, addenda, and
extensions, between the Bureau of Prisons and any provider of money
transfer services, including, but not limited to, any services whereby
members of the public can send money to prisoners or other detainees for
placement on their institutional accounts, that have been in effect at any
time between 2010 and the request date.
Page 6 of 9

Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 7 of 9

xiii.

Records detailing all payments made to or on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons
from or on behalf of any money transfer services provider between 2010 and
the request date.

xiv.

Documents detailing all ancillary fees related to money transfer services,
including but not limited to fees charged to send money to prisoners or other
detainees for placement on their institutional accounts that have been in
effect at any time between 2010 and the request date.

22.

The Bureau of Prisons responded, releasing 101 pages of various documents in full and a
421-page contract between the government and UNISYS for the inmate telephone
system, which included redactions and one missing page. The Bureau of Prisons referred
125 pages to the Department of the Treasury and twelve pages to the Department of
Justice’s Justice Management Division for release determinations.

23.

The referred documents were ultimately released (with some redactions), and are not the
subject of this lawsuit.

24.

None of the released documents comprised:
i.

Contracts for the TRULINCS electronic messaging system, entered into
with Advanced Technology Group, Keefe Group, or any other entity;

ii.

Payments for TRULINCS;

iii.

Rates for TRULINCS;

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Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 8 of 9

iv.

Ancillary fees for TRULINCS;

v.

Contracts for debit cards entered into with Chase, JPMorgan Chase &
Company, or any other entity; or

vi.
25.

Payments for debit cards.

Also omitted was one page of a contract with UNISYS, page eleven of the Statement of
Work, which would appear between Bates numbered pages 19 and 20.

26.

On November 29, 2016, the Human Rights Defense Center filed an administrative appeal
with the Department of Justice Office of Information Policy about these omissions.

27.

The Human Rights Defense Center never received a response to the administrative
appeal.

The Human Right s Defense Cent er ’s Clai m for Reli ef
Violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552

28.

The Human Rights Defense Center incorporates paragraphs 1 - 27 by reference.

29.

The Bureau of Prisons wrongly withheld documents responsive to the Human Rights
Defense Center’s properly submitted request.

30.

The Human Rights Defense Center has a statutory right to all the records it seeks, and
there is no basis for the Bureau of Prisons to withhold them.
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Case 1:18-cv-01064-JEB Document 1 Filed 05/04/18 Page 9 of 9

31.

As a result, by failing to release all the records specifically requested by the Human Rights
Defense Center, the Bureau of Prisons has violated the Freedom of Information Act.

Requested Relief
The Human Rights Defense Center therefore respectfully requests that this Court:
1.

Declare that the records sought by the Human Rights Defense Center are subject to the
Freedom of Information Act;

2.

Order the Bureau of Prisons to disclose the requested records: the documents regarding
electronic messaging services and the documents regarding contracts and payments
related to release payments for prisoners;

3.

Award costs and attorney’s fees under 5 U.S.C. § (a)(4)(E); and

4.

Grant such other relief as the Court may consider just and proper.

Date: May 4, 2018
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Deborah M. Golden
Deborah M. Golden
Human Rights Defense Center
316 F Street, NE #107
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 543-8100
(202) 630-0332 (cell)
D.C. Bar No. 470-578
Page 9 of 9



 

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