NEW YORK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is facing a lawsuit from the New York Civil Liberties Union, with pro bono counsel from Simpson Thatcher and Bartlett LLP for allegedly denying the New York Civil Liberties Union’s (NYCLU) requests for records regarding misconduct in state prisons. DOCCS is the department of the New York State government that oversees the state prisons and parole system.

“The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision cannot withhold disciplinary records to which the public is legally entitled after the repeal of 50-a,” said Bobby Hodgson, supervising attorney at the NYCLU. “Transparency is essential to law enforcement accountability, and New Yorkers have a right to complete information about officer misconduct taking place in state prisons. We will continue to fight for a more complete production from DOCCS that would allow the public to evaluate the agency’s investigation and discipline systems.”

The NYCLU submitted a FOIL request in October of 2020 looking for public records that were authorized to be disclosed after the repeal of Civil Rights Law § 50-a, a statute that had been used for decades for transparency of misconduct by law enforcement. DOCCS allegedly has withheld the records regarding grievances filed by those in custody, as well as certain investigations for officer misconduct, according to NYCLU.