Monday, August 14th, 2017

New Law Creates Additional FOIA Exemptions

Earlier this month, Governor Rauner approved a bill creating additional exemptions under Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act. Public Act 100-0026 creates three new exemptions which allow public bodies to deny FOIA requests sent by incarcerated persons. Specifically, the bill amends Section 7 of the FOIA to include the following:

“ . . . [T]he following shall be exempt from inspection and copying:”

* * *

(e-8) Records requested by a person committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, the disclosure of which would result in the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from a jail or correctional institution or facility.

(e-9) Records requested by a person in a county jail or committed to the Department of Corrections containing personal information pertaining to the person’s victim or the victim’s family, including, but not limited to, a victim’s home address, home telephone number, work or school address, work telephone number, social security number, or any other identifying information, except as may be relevant to a requester’s current or potential case or claim.

(e-10) Law enforcement records of other persons requested by a person committed to the Department of Corrections or a county jail, including, but not limited to, arrest and booking records, mug shots, and crime scene photographs, except as these records may be relevant to the requester’s current or potential case or claim.”

 

In sum, public bodies are exempt from disclosing the following records to incarcerated people:

  • Records that would risk harm or escape from a correctional facility
  • Records concerning the incarcerated person’s victim
  • The arrest records of other people.

As such, municipalities should keep this new law in mind whenever responding to FOIA requests from incarcerated persons.


Jacob-D.-Caudill

Author: Jacob D. Caudill