We're helping movements challenge oppressive systems with FOIA requests
On Wednesday, the Center for Constitutional Rights launched the Open Records Project: FOIA for the Movement, providing resources and training focused on the process of making federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
This initiative helps advocates more effectively use open records requests to challenge oppressive systems of power. The launch includes publication of:
- FOIA Basics for Activists – a guide containing an overview of the FOIA process;
- Step-by-step instructions for filing FOIA and state requests and navigating agency responses;
- Strategies to use open records requests and the documents they produce to advance social justice advocacy and campaigns.
Worst features of solitary confinement persist in California prisons
Nearly four years ago, the Center for Constitutional Rights reached a landmark settlement in the federal class action Ashker v. Governor of California that effectively ended indeterminate, long-term solitary confinement in all California state prisons. At the time, the state of California agreed to move nearly 1,500 prisoners from indefinite solitary confinement to general population.
However, now prisoners in so-called "Level IV" general population facilities are being forced to spend even more time isolated in their cells than before, and those who were supposed to receive more opportunities for social interaction have been placed on "Walk-Alone" status – affording them virtually no social interaction and confining their limited outdoor activities to small cages. In July 2018, the district court ruled that both practices violated the 2015 settlement.
On Friday, we filed a brief opposing California’s attempt to reverse these rulings, and documenting the conditions of Level IV facilities and the treatment of Walk-Alone prisoners.