January 27, 2006

The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.


I have received your letter in which you referred to an entry concerning an arrest in a record maintained by the Department of Correctional Services. As I understand the matter, however, you were not charged or indicted in relation to the arrest. You have sought assistance in removing the entry from a record maintained by the Department.

In this regard, the Freedom of Information Law is silent with respect to the ability to amend or correct records that may contain inaccurate information. However, §5.50 of the regulations promulgated by the Department of Correctional Services states that:

"If the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in the personal history or correctional supervision history portion of an inmate’s record is disputed by the inmate, the inmate shall convey such dispute to the custodian of the record or the designee of the custodian reviewing the record with him. The inmate may obtain a copy of any record that contains information the accuracy or completeness of which the inmate disputes. The fee for copies shall be in accordance with section 5.36 of this Part."

Section 5.5 of the regulations define "correctional supervision history" means:

"...records constituting disciplinary charges and dispositions, good behavior allowance reports, warrants and cancellations of warrants, legal papers, court orders, transportation orders, records of institutional transfers and changes in program assignments, reports of injury to inmates and records relating to inmate property including the personal property lists and postage account card."

The same provision defines "personal history" as follows:

"....records consisting of inmate name, age, birthdate, birthplace, city of previous residence, physical description, occupation, correctional facilities in which the inmate has been incarcerated, commitment information and departmental actions regarding confinement and release."

Based on the foregoing, the ability to attempt to correct records maintained by your facility is somewhat limited. I note that the regulations promulgated by the Division of Criminal Justice Services authorize individuals to attempt to correct criminal history records that may be inaccurate, and it is suggested that you contact that agency.

I hope that I have been of assistance.



Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director