Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

  • Search Policies

<< Back | Printer Friendly Version

TITLE: Dissemination Confidential Info To Public

POLICY

Confidential information about persons under investigation or persons receiving or having received services from this Department will be safeguarded at all times. The following procedures specify what information may be disseminated and by whom.

DEFINITIONS

  1. Criminal History Data-Any or all of the following information, identified by individual:
    1. Arrest Data-Information pertaining to an arrest for a public offense, including the charge, date, time, and place. Arrest data includes arrest warrants; the filing of charges by preliminary information or indictment, including the date and place of alleged commission and county of jurisdiction.
    2. Conviction Data-Information that a person was convicted of or entered a plea of guilty to a public offense and includes the date and location of commission and place and court of conviction.
    3. Disposition Data-Information pertaining to a recorded court proceeding subsequent and incidental to a public offense arrest and includes dismissal of the charge, suspension or deferral of sentence.
    4. Correctional Data-Information pertaining to the status, location, and activities of persons under Department supervision, but does not include investigative, sociological, psychological, economic or other subjective information maintained by the Iowa Department of Corrections or Board of Parole.
    5. Intelligence Data-Information on identifiable individuals compiled in an effort to anticipate, prevent or monitor possible criminal activity.
  2. Criminal Justice Agency-An agency or department of any level of government or an entity wholly owned, financed or controlled by one or more such agencies or departments which performs as its principal function the apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, incarceration or rehabilitation of criminal offenders.

PROCEDURES

  1. All confidential information will be maintained in locked file cabinets and will not be made accessible to unauthorized persons.
  2. When appropriate, offenders will be allowed access or provided with copies of specific file material after submitting a written request for such material. Offenders will not be given the opportunity to review all case material or to review the case file to determine its contents.
  3. Staff will not re-disseminate confidential information generated by other agencies except as permitted between segments of the criminal justice system.
  4. Information, which is not classified as confidential, will be released to the general public when requested.
  5. Any information about persons under investigation by this agency, which is not routinely available in public court proceedings, is considered to be confidential and will not be released to the general public.
  6. Confidentiality of all case information is the responsibility of all Department personnel.
  7. The following information regarding offenders receiving services from the Department is considered public information and may be given to anyone, except that the information shall be limited to the offense for which an individual was last convicted:
    1. Name
    2. Age
    3. Sex
    4. Status (work release, parole, probation, pre-trial)
    5. Location, except home street address
    6. Duration of Supervision
    7. Offense or offenses for which the offender was placed under supervision
    8. County of commitment
    9. Arrest and detention orders
    10. Physical description
    11. Type of services received:
      1. Only general information about services received should be provided since informing the public that an offender has been referred to a mental health agency, substance abuse treatment or other community referral agencies may be disclosing health, financial or other personal confidential information.
    12. Disciplinary or violation reports and decisions referred for prosecution, and the following information of all other disciplinary reports:
      1. The name of the subject of the investigation.
      2. The alleged infraction involved.
      3. The finding of fact and the penalty, if any, imposed as a result of the infraction.
  8. The following information regarding offenders receiving services from the Department is confidential and shall not be disseminated by the Department to the public:
    1. Home street address of the offender receiving services or that individual's family
    2. Department evaluations
    3. Medical, psychiatric or psychological information
    4. Names of associates or accomplices
    5. Name of employer
    6. Social security number
    7. Prior criminal history, including information on offenses where no conviction occurred
    8. Family and personal history
    9. Financial information
    10. Information from or about disciplinary reports and investigations other than that identified in 7L of this section
    11. Investigations by this Department or other agencies
    12. Department records which include any information identified A-K
    13. Pre-sentence investigations
    14. Pre-trial release information that is not otherwise available in public court records or proceedings
    15. Correspondence directed to Department staff from an offender's family, victims, or employer of a personal or confidential nature
  9. Records, which contain both confidential and non-confidential information, will not be released unless the confidential information can be deleted.
  10. Release confidential information:
    1. Confidential information sent outside of the Department shall be stamped, "Confidential-This information is protected in accordance with Section 904.602 of the Code of Iowa. Re-dissemination of this information is not permitted without this agency's approval." The purpose of the stamp is to remind recipients of confidential information of their responsibility to safeguard the information. The stamp shall be placed on the first page of the disseminated information and on subsequent pages and/or the first page of sections or parts of the information, as appropriate.
      1. Public Officials-Confidential information may be released to public officials for use in connection with their official duties relating to law enforcement, audits, and other purposes directly connected with the administration of their programs. "Public Officials" mean any officer of the federal or state government or a political subdivision thereof, receiving a salary or per diem, if elected or appointed or whether serving full-time or part-time. Release of confidential information will be made only after verification of identification of the requestor.
      2. Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and the Board of Parole-These Departments and Board may have access to all information contained the case file.
      3. Community Resource Agencies-When this Department refers offenders to public or private agencies for services or evaluations, information may be released to those agencies but only to the extent necessary for the provision of services. Criminal history information, except for the current offense, may not be re-disseminated. All agencies serving Department offenders shall be bound to this Department's provisions of confidentiality and will not re-disseminate confidential information to any other source. When and exchange of confidential information is to take place, it is not necessary to have an offender's release of information to give community resource agencies information about the offender. It may be necessary for the receiving agency to have completed a release of information form authorizing them to give this Department information. When referring offenders for evaluations or services, the staff member should make any necessary arrangements with the referral agency.
      4. Offender Authorized Release of Information-Upon written authorization by an offender, the Department may release confidential information to any other person or agency specifically listed on a written release of information. This release of information is restricted to that confidential information to which the offender has legal access.
      5. Offender Access to Department Records/Case Files-Upon written request, an offender shall have access to records maintained on that individual, excluding records that could result in physical or psychological harm to that individual or others, such as disciplinary investigation records, intelligence data, criminal history information, assessments prepared by the Department psychologist, and other confidential information developed by another agency. Information, including policies and procedures, which govern internal administration of this Department and could affect the secure operation of a facility or program are confidential unless otherwise ordered by the Court. These records include, but are not limited to offender movement and control, staffing patterns and regulations, emergency plans, internal investigations, equipment use and security, building plans, security procedures and operations, daily operating records, contraband control, and medicine control.
  11. Re-dissemination of information:
    1. Employees shall not re-disseminate criminal history data outside the Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation, and Bureau of Identification, unless all of the following apply:
      1. The data is for official purposes in connection with prescribed duties of a criminal justice agency.
      2. A list of the persons receiving the data and the date and purpose of the dissemination is made.
      3. The request for data is based upon name, fingerprints or other individual identification characteristics.
    2. Employees shall not re-disseminate intelligence data outside the Department, received from the Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation, and Bureau of Identification or any other source, unless all of the elements listed in the above paragraph apply.
    3. All other re-dissemination of criminal history data must be logged in the case file on the re-dissemination log. Criminal history data may not be re-disseminated to the general public. Requests from the general public for criminal justice records will be refused; however, staff may direct persons making requests to those agencies generating the requested information.
  12. Disclosure of Information in Court Proceedings
    1. Confidential information generated by the Department may (not shall) be disclosed when necessary for civil or criminal court proceedings.
  13. Confidentiality of ICON
    1. No information beyond that allowed in Public Information (Reports, core Offender Information Reports, Public Information) shall be provided to the general public.
    2. Highly sensitive information (medical, victim issues, etc.) will be kept in a separate case file and not entered into ICON Generic Notes.
    3. Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment providers will not enter offender case notes relating to their treatment process into ICON Generic Notes.
    4. No staff shall knowingly check, or have others check for them, on family or friends who are involved with Department of Corrections supervision.
      1. When staff becomes aware that a family member or friend is under supervision they will make every effort to notify their immediate supervisor in order to block the staff member's access to the respective case.
  14. Processing Requests for Confidential Information
    1. When information is requested, the requesting party shall be required to:
      1. Identify themselves and, if necessary, produce proof of their identity.
      2. State specifically what information is being requested and the purpose of the request.
      3. If the request for information is legitimate, the person requesting the information shall be required to complete a written request for information and have it signed by the offender.
      4. If this Department knows the agency or person requesting the information and their request is needed to provide services to the offender, the needed information may be provided at the time of the request.
      5. Information may be provided either in writing or verbally.
      6. Only that information which is requested should be provided; therefore, extracting information from reports may be necessary rather than providing a complete report containing no-requested confidential information.
      7. All requests from offenders for access to their own case file information will require a written request form.
      8. Complying with requests for information from offenders or the general public includes only information generated by this Department and it will not include information received from other agencies or individuals. Requests for information generated by others will be refused and the requesting individual will be referred elsewhere.
  15. Case File Documentation
    1. Compliance with requests for releasing confidential information will be recorded in the chronological records listing the date, the person requesting the information, the information provided, and how the information was to be used.
  16. Staff Responsibilities
    1. All staff, including clerical, must be aware of the needs to protect the confidentiality of records and should be familiar with the requirements as set forth by this section.
    2. Clerical staff does not have the authority to release any confidential information outside this Department.
    3. Professional staff should consult their supervisors for guidance at any time they have concerns about providing confidential information.
  17. Safeguarding Confidential Records
    1. All staff will ensure the proper safeguarding of computer software and other confidential records, maintaining those items in designated file cabinets or desks when not in use.
    2. All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that visitors to the office, janitorial staff, and others will not have easy access to confidential materials.
    3. Case files will not be left out over night or at other times when the staff members expect to be away from the office for more than a few minutes.
    4. Supervisors will ensure those violations of confidentiality policies and procedures are promptly corrected.
  18. Reporting Violations of Confidentiality Requirements
    1. Any deviation or violation of the requirements set forth in these policies and procedures are to be reported to the appropriate supervisor. The supervisor will investigate any reported violations and will take all necessary steps to prevent further violations and will take any appropriate disciplinary actions.
  19. Obtaining Confidential Information
    1. When requesting confidential information from either a public or private agency, such as during the course of a pre-sentence investigation, staff requesting such information shall complete an Authorization for Release of Information Form and have it signed by the offender.
  20. Obligation to Inform
    1. There is an obligation to immediately inform a third party of potential harm which could be carried out by an offender when:
      1. A specific person or persons can be identified as a third party who potentially could suffer harm (physical, financial, mental or emotional) and the offender is placed in a position that provides increased opportunity for contact with any person(s) or increased access to any property, and the Department, knowing of the increased contact or access as well as the offender's history and situation, can be expected to reasonably foresee the risk to the third party of the offender having increased opportunities to repeat past, known criminal or anti-social behavior.
      2. When Department staff become aware of any situation in which potential harm could come to a third party, immediate steps shall be taken to notify that third party. The steps shall include consultation with the immediate supervisor. Should there be doubts on proceeding, the Division Manager and/or Assistance Director shall be consulted.
      3. Once a determination has been made that the Department has an obligation to inform, notification shall be made to the third party by telephone or personal contact. When the risk concerns non-physical harm, the offender may be required to notify the third party and provide verification of the notification. Should the third party be a juvenile or mentally handicapped adult, the adult responsible for the third party shall be notified. Any contact/documentation shall be noted in the chronological records of the case file. Appropriate entries shall also be made on the re-dissemination log.
      4. Notification shall include the following information:
        1. Name of the offender.
        2. Physical description of the offender, if not already known to the third party.
        3. Location of the offender, if appropriate and not already known to the third party. Specific address should be given only as necessary for the third party's protection.
        4. Charge(s) for which the offender is being supervised and/or has been convicted of in the past which relate to the determination of potential for harm. Additional information from court records as necessary to allow the third party to understand the possibility of the harm.
        5. Name, office address, and telephone number of the supervising officer or counselor.
      5. If a threat was made by the offender regarding the third party, local law enforcement and the court/county attorney/parole board should also be immediately notified.
      6. Preventing potential harmful situations:
        1. In situations in which risk has not yet been established, but risk is possible, notification shall be made to the third party or conditions of supervision should be modified to prevent the risk.
        2. Conditions of supervision prohibiting the offender from becoming involved in risk situations should also be explored before or at the time supervision is initiated, if the offender's history and circumstances make it likely that risk could occur.
  21. Information Requests from the Child Support Recovery Unit (Iowa Code 252B.9)
    1. It is appropriate to release information relative to the location, income, and property holdings of the absent parent. Information should be requested in writing to ensure that high standards of confidentiality are maintained.
  22. Case File Security, Maintenance, and Destruction
    1. All case and PSI files will be maintained in locked files. The security and maintenance of case and PSI files will be the responsibility of the employee to whom the files are assigned. Accessibility to case and PSI files will be limited to those employees who, in the performance of assigned duties, have need of such files and to other correctional agencies in accordance with the policy and procedures for transfer of supervision.
    2. All materials will be retained in the closed files with a log kept to check out closed files.
    3. Closed files:
      1. Field Services-Until destroyed, closed case files shall be maintained in the office from which the case was supervised. "Master file" copies of pre-sentence investigation and informal reports shall be maintained in the main office of the Division in which they were prepared.
    4. At least once a year, the Division Supervisor will destroy by burning or shredding:
      1. Case files which have been closed for five (5) years (except the absconder files) unless limited storage space makes it necessary to destroy files any time after three (3) years.
      2. Facility file cards on cases, which have been discharged for ten (10) years.
    5. One (1) copy of each PSI will be kept in the "Master PSI file." A log will be kept to check out master file copies.
      1. Federal/State Laws
    6. There are various federal and state laws pertaining to confidentiality. It is necessary that staff be aware that the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services as a criminal justice system agency and its staff are under strict requirements and laws which provide both civil and criminal penalties for improper safeguarding or disseminating of confidential information. The Department of Justice Federal Register, Volume 40, Number 98, Part IV, dated May 20, 1975, demands that confidentiality and the rights of persons be protected at all times. It sets forth similar penalties in Chapter 217.31 of the 1981 Code of Iowa which states: "Any person may institute a civil action for damages under Chapter 25A or to restrain in the dissemination of confidential records set out in Section 217.30, Subsection 1, Paragraphs "b," "c" or "d" of the section in violation of that section, and any person, agency or governmental body proven to have disseminated or to have requested and received confidential records in violation of Section 217.30, Subsection 1, Paragraphs "b," "c" or "d" shall be liable for actual damages and exemplary damages for each violation and shall be liable for court costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the party bringing the action. In no case shall the award for damages be for less than one hundred dollars."

      The Iowa code also provides in Section 217.30(4)(d) that it makes it unlawful to misuse confidential information by stating:

      "It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit, disclose, receive, use, or to authorize or knowingly permit, participate in, or acquiesce in the use of any information obtained from any such report or record for commercial or political purpose. Violation of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor."

      Chapter 692.6 provided for civil liabilities against any person or agency that disseminates any information in violation of Chapter 692.6. Chapter 692 sets forth criminal penalties for persons who willfully request, obtain or seek to obtain intelligence data under false pretenses or who willfully communicate or seek to communicate intelligence data to any agency or person will be guilty of a Class "D" Felony for each such offense.

      Any staff member of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services who willfully abuses the right to obtain confidential information or who disseminates confidential information in noncompliance to this chapter will be terminated from employment with the agency.

      Any staff member of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services who is charged with either criminal or civil liabilities as a result of knowingly violating the procedures set forth in this chapter will not be provided defense by the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services nor will the agency consider itself liable for any punitive damages incurred by the staff member.

  23. Confidentiality Protected by Federal Law/Patient Records of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs
    1. Policy
      1. Restriction on redisclosure-whenever information from a patient's record is needed by the person authorized to receive it, such information must be obtained directly from the program making any such records and not from another person to whom disclosure thereof has been made.
      2. The Probation/Parole Officer cannot disclose patient information received from patient records of alcohol and drug abuse programs.
    2. Criminal Justice System Referrals/Rules
      1. A patient may be required to participate in a treatment program as a condition for release from confinement. An example of this may be an alcoholic placed in an appropriate alcohol abuse treatment program. When done, the patient may consent to unrestricted communications between such a program and the supervising agency (such as Department of Correctional Services).
      2. Duration of consent-where consent is given as stated above, said consent expire after sixty (60) days or when there is a substantial change in such person's status, whichever is later. Explanation of "substantial change" is as follows:
        1. Arrested-when such patient is formally charged or unconditionally released from arrest.
        2. Formally charged-when the charges have been dismissed with prejudice or the trial of such person has been commenced.
        3. Brought to a trial that has commenced when such person has been acquitted.
        4. Restriction on disclosure-any information received regarding a patient may be void by the recipients only in connection with their official duties with respect to that patient. Said recipients cannot make such information available for general investigative purposes.
<< Back | Printer Friendly Version


Offices | Services | Offender Information | Resources | Reports | PREA | Links