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Second California Agency Removes Public Records From State Website

First High Speed Rail Authority removed docs, now the Department of Corrections joins the anti-transparency club

By Katy Grimes, August 2, 2019 6:05 pm

Last week California Globe reported that thousands of pages of public records were removed from the highly controversial California High Speed Rail Authority website in June. Now, members of the media and anyone seeking information about rail authority spending will only be able to access previously posted documents like detailed information on every project change orderboard meeting materials and historical business plans, through a time consuming and unreliable California Public Records Act request according to the Rail Authority website.

Friday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that a second California state agency has removed public records, and these records are just as controversial, if not more so. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has posted information about Kamala Harris’s entire career as California Attorney General, 2011 to 2017.  The reports on incarceration in the state, including when presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D.) was California’s attorney general. Twice a year, the CDCR releases information about the number of new individuals incarcerated in the California prison system as part of its “Offender Data Points” series. These reports provide important information on demographics, sentence length, offense type, and other figures relevant to criminal justice and incarceration, the Free Beacon reported.

“The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website will make it harder for voters to inspect Sen. Kamala Harris’s controversial record as the state’s top cop,” the Free Beacon reported. “The department removed public access to a number of reports on incarceration in the state, including when presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D.) was California’s attorney general.”

Earlier this week during the second of two Democratic Presidential Candidates’ debates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took on Sen. Kamala Harris over her prosecutorial record as a District Attorney and Attorney General in California, and her poor record on criminal justice reform, the war on drugs, and prosecutorial misconduct during the second Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, California Globe reported.

Gabbard said: “I want to bring the conversation back to the broken criminal justice system that is disproportionately negatively impacting black and brown people all across this country today. Now Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president.

But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.

She blocked evidence — she blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”

Washington Free Beacon continues:

“Until recently, these reports were publicly available at the CDCR’s websiteA search using archive.org’s Wayback Machine reveals that as of April 25, 2019—the most recent indexed date—ODP reports were available dating back to the spring of 2009. As of August 2019, the same web page now serves only a single ODP report, the one for Spring 2019. The pre-2019 reports have been removed.”

The California High Speed Rail Authority has also pulled down important background information as well as board meetings minutes and change orders.

Just as the HSRA claimed, CDCR said they pulled the information down because of a previously authored bill, AB 434, requiring all state agencies to make their websites accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But few are buying this excuse.

Now, just as with the High Speed Rail Authority, CDCR is now requiring anyone seeking documents to go through a time consuming and unreliable California Public Records Act request, according to the CDCR website. The Free Beacon said documents are still available upon request via email to data.requests@cdcr.ca.gov.

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