Prisology Sues Federal Prison System, Seeks Online Disclosure Of Records For Greater Accountability

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Prisology is suing to force the federal prison system to publish its records via the Internet in order to increase transparency of prison operations. Little is presently known about the operations of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a federal agency with a multi-billion dollar a year budget.

“Through this litigation we hope to gain greater transparency and accountability of federal prison operations"

In order to increase public awareness and accountability of federal prison officials, Prisology, a national criminal justice reform organization, filed suit today against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC.

The lawsuit alleges that the BOP failed to comply with amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) which require federal agencies to publish certain records online for public perusal.

“Through this litigation we hope to gain greater transparency and accountability of federal prison operations," said Brandon Sample, Prisology’s Executive Director.

According to the lawsuit, the BOP is required to publish online all agency responses to prisoner grievances from each BOP institution, Regional Office, and the BOP’s Central Office; private settlements outside of litigation between the BOP and its employees, inmates, and other persons; grants and denials of requests for compassionate release; all settlements, compromises, and rejections of claims made pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act and Inmate Accident Compensation Program; and Disciplinary Hearing Officer reports reflecting agency adjudication of serious prison disciplinary charges.

Jeremy Gordon, Prisology’s General Counsel, called the litigation “groundbreaking” for its potential to increase public awareness of BOP operations.

For fiscal year 2015, the BOP has requested nearly $6.9 billion in funding. Despite being one of the most well-funded federal agencies, the BOP is presently operating at 32 percent over capacity, with some 217,000 federal prisoners in its custody. BOP employs over 39,000 people across 119 institutions, six regional offices, and its headquarters in Washington, DC.

With BOP's budget nearing $7 billion a year, Benson Weintraub, Prisology's Associate General Counsel, stated that Prisology hopes "to show, in the words of Justice Brandeis, that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant.”

Source: Prisology v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 14-969 (D.Colo. 2014).

Press contact: Kathy Korin at

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