Friday, May 17, 2013
TDCJ denies Backgate open records info on unit short staffing based on obscure rule
The Backgate submitted an official request for records approximately 60 days ago requesting current information on chronic serious unit under staffing on TDCJ facilities state wide that may present safety risks to staff and the general public. TDCJ denied the request and sent a request to the Texas Attorney Generals office asking that the information be denied in whole due to an obscure rule that enables the agency from releasing information publicly that may jeopardize staff safety or unit security.
TDCJ contends that the release of basic staffing information on any TDCJ unit presents a risk to staff and the facility in that the offender population will see we are short and create havoc on units lacking staff statewide. Doing this merely paints the agency as withholding vital information to the public that may show just what TDCJ staff members are required to endure due to staffing shortages hidden by the agency. In the legislative season, it can only be taken as an attempt to shelter legislators and the public from the truth about just how unsafe our prisons have become for everyone. The Attorney Generals office has sided with the agency and blocked the release, but were not giving up so easily. Our own Attorney contacts have become involved and will soon press for full disclosure.
Seems as though a publicly funded agency would have to answer to the public right?