By Christopher Zoukis A judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the FBI to greatly increase the speed at which it is producing documents responsive to a professor’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The request was made by Professor Nina Gilden Seavey, a documentary filmmaker and professor…

Read More

By Christopher Zoukis The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court’s order allowing across-the-board redactions by the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice…

Read More

  Fourteen years ago, the nonprofit monthly magazine Prison Legal News filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the Federal Bureau of Prisons for documentation of how much money the BOP had paid out over an approximately seven-and-a-half-year period (from 1996 through the end of July 2003) in judgments and settlements of lawsuits and…

Read More

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.

Read More

By Christopher Zoukis 

On June 14, 2014, the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, in conjunction with the national criminal justice reform organization Prisology, announced the latest installment in their Commitment to Change College Scholarship.  This scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books for one federal prisoner to take one course at the regionally accredited Adams State University, a university highly regarded by most incarcerated students for their prisoner-friendly correspondence policies and recommended in both Education Behind Bars(Sunbury Press, 2012) and the Prisoners Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the U.S. and Canada (Prison Legal News, 2009).

This scholarship is offered four times a year to one federal prisoner who submits either an essay or a piece of artwork for judging.  There is no entry fee to participate.  Due to Prisology’s significant reform efforts during the first quarter of 2014 — which consisted of testifying before Congress concerning the two-point sentencing reduction for federal drug offenders and its potential retroactivity, and other non-Congressional outreach concerning clemency petitions and various federal sentencing legislation and initiatives — this quarter’s scholarship will be awarded to not one, but two federal prisoners: the first and second place winners of the current contest.

Read More