U Memo 22-03

Posted on Jun 16, 2022 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 22-03
June 16, 2022
Inmate Release Information

Requester sought a decision as to whether the Department of Public Safety (PSD) properly denied two requests for records under the UIPA.  Her first request was for the “names of 2018 inmates who were held beyond their release date; their scheduled release dates; and when they were actually released.”  PSD’s response to the appeal indicated there was “confusion” as to whether the request was intended to apply to all such inmates, or only to the specific inmates referenced in Requester’s subsequent record request.  An agency that is unclear as to what records are being sought under the UIPA should seek clarification on that point from the requester.  HAR 2‑71-14(c)(2).  If it was unclear in this instance, PSD should have asked Requester whether the first request was intended to be modified by the second request, and limited to only the inmates referenced in the second request, rather than making a guess.

PSD disclosed the names and actual dates of release from PSD custody of seven 2018 inmates after this appeal opened, but not their scheduled release dates, which Requester also sought.  OIP concluded that PSD must also disclose those inmates’ scheduled release dates because the dates are public under the UIPA and are readily retrievable.

While investigations were still pending, Requester’s second request sought records pertaining to the investigations into whether seven inmates were kept in PSD custody beyond their scheduled release dates in 2018.  OIP concluded that PSD properly denied access under section 92F-13(3), HRS, to the investigation records to avoid interference with the investigations and thus frustration of its investigative function.

Requester also sought a copy of the “spreadsheet that PSD relied on in calculating the percentage and number of inmates who were held beyond their release date in 2018.”  PSD’s response to Requester did not address the request for the spreadsheet and failed to comply with the requirements set out in section 2‑71-14(c)(1), HAR.  However, in response to this appeal, PSD asserted that it does not maintain such a record, explaining that Requester must have misunderstood a telephone conversation that led her to request a copy of such a spreadsheet.  OIP found credible PSD’s explanation that it does not maintain a spreadsheet that calculates percentage and number of inmates held beyond their release dates.