John Colby's Freedom of Information Campaign against Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz [link]
* Santa Cruz retaliates against Human Rights advocate John Colby [link]
* Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]
2013-11-24 message from John E. Colby [email@example.com] to Phil Wowak, Sheriff–Coroner for the
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office [firstname.lastname@example.org]:
Dear Sheriff–Coroner Wowak,
I am writing as a member of the activist group Sin Barras to submit a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request and inquiry. Sin Barras is a grassroots organization based in Santa Cruz, California whose purpose is to — through building community based coalitions — create economically effective and socially just alternatives to what we term the "prison industrial complex". To learn more about Sin Barras, please reference the links below:
In what we believe is the first such proposal in the nation, Sin Barras would like to compile a database of inmates and their information to better understand who is being incarcerated in the Santa Cruz County jail system and for what charges. This information is fundamental for several reasons:
* The news media has documented how prisons and jails have become de facto housing and treatment centers for the mentally ill. Please refer to the following articles — http://tinyurl.com/bl2t7c9 http://tinyurl.com/mn7gtvk — Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca stated that the Los Angeles County Jail is the largest psychiatric treatment center in the country, criticizing it. Currently the federal government is investigating the Los Angeles County Sheriff's jails for civil rights violations against mentally ill inmates.
* Santa Cruz has a history of criminalizing homelessness. Recently the City of Santa Cruz Public Safety Commission targeted "nuisance crimes" by the homeless as a primary public safety concern for the Santa Cruz City Council. Please read about that: http://tinyurl.com/mwmkqga
* This same commission issued a report in which they recommended a strategy that emphasizes "nuisance crimes" and "broken window" policing. Read criticism of these strategies (for being inherently racist and a militarization of public space): http://tinyurl.com/7s8ek http://tinyurl.com/mjbaovv
* In the most recent ASR Homeless Census for Santa Cruz County, about 68% of the homeless questioned identified themselves as being disabled. Please read the 2013 ASR Executive Summary: http://tinyurl.com/ky633qp
To accomplish the core mission of Sin Barras and to better inform the public, we require more complete information about the inmate population incarcerated in the Santa Cruz County jail system operated by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office (SCSO). To this end, I am submitting the following inquiry while requesting copies of the currently available SCSO arrest logs available on your website: [http://www.scsheriff.com/Home/ArrestLogs.aspx]
Pursuant to California Government Code Section 6253.1 — http://www.harp.org/og/cpra.htm#6253.1 — to aid and assist me in making a focused and effective public records request and to identify records and information responsive to said request and its purpose (which I stated above), I ask for:
* Electronic copies of the currently posted SCSO arrest logs which I linked to above.
* Information about what standard electronic formats these arrest logs are available in — like XLS for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, common database formats for Microsoft Access, and eXtensible Markup Language for interchangeable databases.
Sin Barras plans to share the database we compile with the news media and various state and federal government agencies as well as the California state legislature. This database will also be made available to the public on our webpage and in the following Facebook groups:
Because of intense interest in these issues, I ask you to waive any applicable fees (search, retrieval, redaction and duplication) in the public interest.
* if you determine that any or all or the information qualifies for an exemption from disclosure, to note whether, as is normally the case under the Act, whether the exemption is discretionary, and if so whether it is necessary in this case to exercise your discretion to withhold the information.
* in case you decide that any of the information is exempt, please explain how the interest in not disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.
* in case you decide that any responsive records are exempt from disclosure please list them and the claimed exemptions for me so that I may exercise my due process rights in disputing the exemption and otherwise exercise my rights under the CPRA administratively or in a court of law.
* if you determine that some but not all of the information is exempt from disclosure and that you intend to withhold it, that you redact it for the time being and make the rest available as requested.
* if there is any information in these records which is private and you decide it is exempt information, yet it is in an otherwise disclosable document, please segregate the private information by redacting it while providing me the rest of the unredacted record.
I am willing to pay a fee of up to $10 for this request and inquiry. If you estimate its cost will exceed this, please contact me first before completing it. If completing it will entail any special search fees, please contact me first with a fee estimate. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you for helping Sin Barras make the operations of the Santa Cruz County jail system more open, transparent and accountable by compiling a inmate database from SCSO arrest logs.
Respectfully yours, John E. Colby, Ph.D.