Tuesday, February 12, 2019

We Report, You Decide: MDOC Public Records Requests

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelecia Hall recently complained that her office was bombarded with public records requests.  She asked the legislature to weaken the public records laws for MDOC as she claimed the agency could not respond to the requests as required by law.  JJ filed a public records request for the public records requests submitted since December 1, 2018 and posted them below.   Read and review for yourself.


Anonymous said...

Definitely agree this meets the bombardment description MDOC used. I have firsthand knowledge of the hours it takes to pull all responsive records, review them for confidential or sensitive data that should have been redacted (which it doesn't appear they did since they included DOBs and SSNs), and get it in shape to send to the requester. Many of these requests were from attorneys representing inmates which basically means they're doing discovery through the public records process. Which is their prerogative, but definitely makes it all the more important that the State's attorney gets to review documents too before they are sent out, which also takes time.

But the answer can't be less transparency, unfortunately. It looks to me like they need a much larger staff handling these requests as well as simply more time. Exempting them from complying just can't be the right answer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the hard work. Keep it up KF! If you don’t do nobody will.

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple. Charge a research and reproduction fee for the time and resources used to complete the request. If it is in the public interest to get the information then the fee paid will be worth it. If it’s a fishing expedition or used to get around the normal process for obtaining the records then it will cost you for the shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Public records means PUBLIC and there should be ZERO fees. Get digital or get taken into receivership by the dang feds.

Anonymous said...

2:01, someone still has to research and provide responses, digital or not. And then there are legal questions as to what can be released. So your zero fee ridiculous comment means that we taxpayers are picking up the costs instead of the requestor.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish please request and post how much MDOC chargers for these request. They get tens of thousands of dollars to make copies of documents.

coffee and cornbread said...


So you're ok with your tax dollars being spent to do discovery for private law firms.
cool beans.

Justice for MDOC said...

KF, why must you crusade against MDOC? They have enough on their plate and don’t need your harassment. You think you’re trying to save the world but all you do is feed your own ego. #shameonyou

Anonymous said...


Anyone with a computer or even a smartphone can nearly instantly find the entire transcript of the 1959 annual meeting of the Sioux City Iowa Association of Left-Handed Proctologists and a high-school dropout Walmart stock clerk who had a joint and a couple of cans of Natural Light for lunch can tell me with a hand-scanner exactly how many cans of Col. Lardass's Famous Pork and Beans are on the shelves at every store in a 200 mile radius (and on which aisle number and their relative shelf position), but the agency in charge of executions is debilitated and overwhelmed by a request for the number of people they have on death row and a few particulars on them? If nothing else, isn't this the kind of data it might want to have instantly available for things like, oh, I don't know, head-counts and such?

Anonymous said...

Make the prisoners do the research for a fee to offset their costs of incarceration.

Anonymous said...

MDOC has an archaic system of paper in place. Not our problem that they haven't been able to figure out how to move data management into the 21st century. Nobody should have to pay for access to information that should be easily accessible. Period. This state is last in the nation for a lot of reasons. Ms. Hall's cry for relief speaks to just how public officials view the public they serve. Did she ever think there is a reason she has so many requests for "public" information? Maybe because MDOC doesn't have the "trust" of the public they serve. For good reason too. It comes with the job. You're accountable to your taxpayers. Quit whining and figure it out. Great PR opportunity to ask for funds to bring your "data" systems up to speed so you can develop better relations and trust after the entire Epps scandal with your constituents. I know. Crazy thinking here. It's the public that's the problem. Not MDOC.


Anonymous said...

@6:45pm Proper conduct fears no exposure.

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Note: Security provided by INS