Q: I would like to obtain a copy of my son’s disciplinary action while incarcerated in a California state prison. I have not been able to find anyone in the California Department of Corrections who is responsive to my need. Perhaps there exists some legal requirement for the Dept of Corrections to provide the documentation needed. Can you help?
A: Under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), public records – which include “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics,” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6252(e) – are presumed to be open to the public and must be disclosed unless a specific provision of the Act or other law exempts the writing from disclosure. This includes records held by the California Department of Corrections.
After a CPRA request is received, a government agency will have 10 days to respond to the request. The agency must disclose the records “promptly” after identifying whether it does indeed have records responsive to the request. Gov’t Code § 6253(c). If the agency claims that the records are exempt from public disclosure, it must cite the specific exemption that applies. Id.
Sample text for drafting your request can be found here. I found the address below for submitting a CPRA request to the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation; however, you may want to contact the agency and confirm the address is current.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
1515 S Street suite 314S,
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response.