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Texas Act Requires Compelling Reasoning for Nondisclosure of Requested Prisoner Information

The Office of the Attorney General (AG) of the State of Texas opined the legal parameters regarding the release of prisoner information by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The opinion is in accordance with the State's Government Code (Code) and Open Records Decision No. 664 (2000).

After receiving a request for a prisoner's information the TDCJ sought the records from the appropriate custodian and inquired about proposed exempt materials to the AG pursuant to the Code. The AG noted that the TDCJ's failure to submit a copy or sample of the exempt materials within 15 business days mandated release of the documents to the requestor absent compelling reasoning. The AG held that parole or supervision release documents as well as materials concerning executive clemency were exempt but that basic information regarding the crime and commission date, names of police involved, the name and charges of the perpetrator, and the actions taken must be disclosed. The AG's Office urged that within 10 days of the opinion the custodian must either release the records, notify the requestor when the request will be satisfied, or provide notification if challenging the opinion. It was advised that any production costs remain within proper legal standards, See: In re Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas, 2003 Tex. AG. Lexis 934.

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Related legal case

In re Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas