Lifting the Veil: Prisology Sues Federal Bureau of Prisons for Freedom of Information Act Violations

By Christopher Zoukis

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is facing a significant challenge to the relative secrecy in which it is used to operating.

Prisology, a nonprofit criminal justice reform organization, has announced that it has filed suit against the BOP, alleging that the agency has “flagrantly disregarded” important aspects of the federal government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) through decades of noncompliance with laws that require it to post online substantial information about its day-to-day decision-making.

The suit, Prisology v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, was filed in United States District Court in Washington, DC.

Jeremy Gordon, General Counsel for Prisology, says that the litigation is groundbreaking.  The BOP’s failure to comply with the 1996 amendments requiring online posting of data under the FOIA has thus far escaped judicial scrutiny.  “Effective oversight of federal agencies is impossible where lawmakers and the public do not have information about agency operations and practices.  At present, the BOP largely functions in a shroud of secrecy,” Gordon said.

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