Connecticut inmate contests $200 document fee

Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission was asked Friday to reconsider how poor a prison inmate must be to obtain public documents for free.

Derrick Taylor, a 43-year-old inmate serving an 80-year sentence for a 1992 murder outside a Hartford bar, is requesting several thousand pages of documents from the state Department of Correction related to operations of Northern Correctional Institution, where he is housed. The documents include commissary contracts and details about the prison's ventilation and television systems.

The department allowed him to review the documents, but it says he can't have copies unless he pays $200 for processing. They said Taylor doesn't qualify for a fee waiver, because he had more than $5 in his commissary account in the three months before and after his request. In an appeal heard Friday, Taylor, who testified via telephone from the prison, called that definition of indigent ridiculous and discriminatory. Continue>>>