Posted on Sep 17, 2001 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 01-03
September 17, 2001
Disclosure of Inmate Information

A private company, Verifacts, Inc., asked the Department of Public Safety (“PSD”) for a copy of inmate data that PSD maintains in its database. The Department of the Attorney General asked the OIP for written guidance regarding the record request.

The OIP noted that under the UIPA’s mandatory disclosure provision, section 92F-12 (a)(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes, government agencies are required to disclose “directly information concerning an individual’s presence at any correctional facility.”

The OIP therefore advised that PSD is required to disclose directory information concerning an individual’s presence at a correctional facility. Directory information is limited to names and locations of covered individuals.

Other inmate information should be disclosed subject to the personal privacy and frustration exceptions at section 92F-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

PSD may withhold information such as social security number, birth date, complexion, gender, hair and eye color, race, and personal financial information, when the privacy interest of the individual outweighs the public interest in disclosure of that information.

In addition, PSD has the discretion to withhold from disclosure information that must be confidential in order to prevent the frustration of a legitimate government function.

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