ACLU receives Idaho open-government award for prison inquiry

From a news releaseMay 6, 2014 

The ACLU of Idaho, which fought to extract government records regarding a private prison company, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Max Dalton Open Government Award sponsored by the Idaho Newspaper Foundation.

The award has been given each year since 1999 to a citizen or group judged to be an outspoken advocate of openness in either public records or public meetings on the state or local level.

In February, the ACLU submitted an open-records request to the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Correction and the governor's office seeking records of falsification and understaffing by Corrections Corporation of America at the Idaho Correctional Center. In response, the ACLU received thousands of pages of documents that showed over 25,000 missing hours of mandatory staffing despite earlier claims that the total was only 4,700 hours.

The nonprofit organization also fought to make information about contempt proceedings against CCA in federal court available to the public. Its efforts paid off when a judge issued an order vindicating the public's interest in open records.

"The ACLU's efforts show a determination and commitment of time, resources and money that match the criteria of the Max Dalton award," said Tom Grote, editor of The Star-News in McCall and the executive director of the Idaho Newspaper Foundation.

The award includes an art plate and $1,000. For details and past recipients, go to www.idnewsfound.org.

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