Judge fines prison system over handling of records request


A Pennsylvania judge is requiring the prison system to pay $1,500 for delayed and incomplete responses to a newspaper’s request for information about how a fly ash dump and possible water contamination may be affecting inmate health.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson sided last week with the Uniontown Herald-Standard, saying the Corrections Department delayed public-records access for three years.

The fine is the most allowed under the Right-to-Know Law.

Simpson says he may also make the agency pay the newspaper’s legal costs.

The judge is giving the Corrections Department about a month to produce pharmacy reports and chronic care clinic records.

Executive Editor Michael Palm says the Herald-Standard sought the records to see whether fly ash or water contamination was sickening people inside the prison or in a nearby community.

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