Info on New Inmate Public Records Law Requested … by Inmate


The recently-signed inmate public records abuse law will soon face its first test, following an inmates’ public records request for any information on the new inmate public records abuse law.

Sound redundant? To Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, the author of the new law, it’s ironic.

“I think it’s fitting that the very person who prompted the law in the first place will be the legal test case to try it out,” Carrell (pictured) said in a press release Monday. “It’s ironic that the individual is an inmate seeking excessive public records on bills that prevent inmates from seeking excessive public records.”

The new law’s aim is to cut down on public records requests by inmates that seem “abusive.” The attorney general’s office reports that in 2007, the Department of Corrections (DOC) staff spent 12,494 hours responding to offender records requests, costing taxpayers more than $250,000 and six full-time employees.

Carrell’s bill, signed into law March 20, had only two lawmakers vote against it (one of them was Poulsbo Democrat Sherry Appleton, and you can read about her no vote here).

The new request, made by Walla Walla State Penitentiary inmate Alan Parmelee, is broad in its scope. He wants: “any and all records in any format, from any agency and/or person, relating to the prospective and subsequent passing, directly or indirectly, of HB 1181 and SB 5130,” as well as “any and all records, e-mails, memos, notes, and things in any format, such as from any state agency, municipal agency, person(s), and organizations relating to the eventual presentation or/and subsequent passings of the respective bills in the broadest sense of disclosure, even if not relied on specifically, including any opposing records information.”

Here’s more from Carrell’s release:

“I think it’s entirely appropriate that we use this new law to send a very clear message to felons who are not working on their case, but who are just out to get public information to use for their own, possibly malicious purposes,” Carrell said. “This is an important test, and I think it’s one that we will likely win thanks to the new law.”

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