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Executive Administrative Services

Public Information Act

Open Records Policies and Procedures

Under the Texas Public Information Act (the Act), each person is entitled to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees, unless otherwise expressly provided by law. You can request information by letter, facsimile, or e-mail. Letter requests can be sent directly to the department that you believe has control of the information you seek, while facsimile and E-mail requests must be sent as shown on the Where to Send Your Request page. For more information about the Texas Public Information Act or open records requests, you may wish to refer to the Attorney General’s Public Information Handbook.

Where to Send Your Request

How to Access TDCJ Records [back to top]

Requests must be in writing. If sending your request by letter or hand delivery and you know where the information is located, it is best to deliver your request to that location. For example: If you seek information about a TDCJ employee who works at the Huntsville Unit, you should send your request to that unit. Click here for a list of unit addresses.

If you are unsure of where the information might be located, you should write to:

TDCJ – Executive Services
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Fax and E-mail requests must be sent as follows:
E-mail: exec.services@tdcj.texas.gov
Fax: (936) 437-2125

What Your Request Should Include [back to top]

Requests for records under the Public Information Act must be in writing. Including the following information in your request will help ensure that you receive the information you want:

  • Your name and mailing address (so we can send you a response); Your phone number (so we can contact you if we have questions about how to respond to your request); and
  • A list or description of the specific information you are interested in, including time periods. Try to be as specific as possible about the information you are seeking.

Non-Public Information [back to top]

Some of the information maintained by The Texas Department of Criminal Justice may contain information that is confidential and cannot be released. Some examples of non public information are:

  • employee Social Security numbers; employee tax information, e.g. W-4 and W-2; attorney-client communications; attorney work product; documents made confidential by statute;
  • certain information about inmates of TDCJ

In addition, some individuals are not eligible to use the PIA to obtain information. Examples of these are inmates and people acting as agents for an inmate. Attorneys representing an inmate client can use the Act to obtain information.

If you want to review or obtain copies of the non-public information listed above, it will be necessary for TDCJ to request an Attorney General’s opinion about this information. This non-public information will not be available for review until after the Attorney General makes a decision about whether the information is public or not public. The Attorney General’s office has about 12 weeks to make a decision on whether the information is public or not public.

If part of the information you requested is considered public information, then you will be able to review or obtain copies of the public information, even if a request for an Attorney General’s open records opinion is necessary regarding the non-public information.

If you are not seeking access to non-public or exempt information, you may simply state in your request that you want only information considered public by the Office of the Attorney General. If you indicate that you are only seeking information that the Office of the Attorney General considers public information, then it will not be necessary for TDCJ to make a request for an opinion.

Costs and Billing [back to top]

Charges for copies of public information are set by the Office of the Attorney General. In general, if the number of copies in your request is less than 50 pages, the charge will be $0.10 per page plus the cost of postage (or other delivery method, at your request). If the number of copies is more than 50 pages, the charge will be $0.10 per page plus personnel and overhead costs necessary to compile the documents, in addition to the postage.

If the charge for fulfilling your requests exceeds $40.00, we will provide you with an itemized written estimate of the charges and indicate if a less costly alternative is available. You must respond in writing within 10 days after the estimate is sent that you will accept the costs, or that you desire any stated alternative, or your request will be considered withdrawn.

The Texas Public Information Act Section 552.275 authorizes a governmental body to establish a reasonable limit on the amount of time personnel are required to spend producing public information for inspection or copies to a requestor, without recovering the costs attributable to the personnel time related to that requestor. This would apply, for example, to circumstances where the requestor chooses to inspect documents in person rather than receive a copy by mail.

The TDCJ has established 36 hours as the reasonable limit on the amount of time personnel are required to spend producing public information for inspection or copies without recovering attributable costs per 12 month period. This 12 month period coincides with the TDCJ's fiscal year. Requestors who exceed the 36 hour time limit in a fiscal year shall pay all costs attributable to cost of materials, personnel time, and overhead expenses necessary to comply with the request, even if the requestor intends to only inspect the documents.

The 36 hour limit does not apply if the requestor is an elected official of the United States, the State of Texas, or a political subdivision of the State of Texas; or a representative of (a) a radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission; (b) a newspaper that is qualified under section 2051.044 of the Government Code to publish legal notices or is a free newspaper of general circulation that is published at least once a week and available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news; (c) a newspaper of general circulation that is published on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the general public; (d) a magazine that is published at least once a week or on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the general public; or (e) a publicly funded legal services organization that is exempt from federal income taxation by being listed as a "501(c)(3) entity" under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.