The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed an Article 78 lawsuit against the New York State Commission of Correction (SCOC), the chief watchdog and regulator of jails in New York State. The lawsuit argues that SCOC is unlawfully withholding information related to whether and how it responds to reports of physical and sexual assault perpetrated by jail staff against individuals incarcerated at county jails statewide.
On July 6, 2022, the NYCLU submitted a Freedom of Information Law request (FOIL) seeking records concerning SCOC’s handling of incident reports received from both county jails and the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). To date, following the NYCLU’s administrative appeal, SCOC has released just a narrow sliver of the records it maintains in response to the NYCLU’s request. In addition, the number of incidents in SCOC’s 2022 annual report is greater than the number of incidents that the NYCLU received following its administrative appeal. This discrepancy suggests the commission is hiding basic incident reports for each responsive incident report despite having those records in their custody. With this lawsuit, the NYCLU seeks to shed further light on the thoroughness of the commission’s investigations into staff misconduct.