CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) filed a petition in court Friday over what it describes as secret prison laws.
According to a press release from the organization, the lawsuit stems from a Feb. 2 incident where ACLU-WV staff members went to the Secretary of State’s Office to review theDivision of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (DCR) policy manual. At first, the staff members were granted access, but the ACLU-WV said that it was clear upon initial review that earlier versions of the rule provided to ACLU-WV by DCR were inaccurate.
The ACLU-WV claims its staff members were denied when they went to resume review of the policies the following workday, and staff later learned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had asked for permission to remove the documents from the Secretary of State’s Office—though that request was denied.
It also alleged that access to some of the documents ended up being denied.
ACLU-WV managing attorney Aubrey Sparks acknowledged in the release that state departments can maintain non-public policies in some cases, such as policies directly related to personnel safety, but said that that does not apply to legislative rules that carry the force of law.
The ACLU is asking the Circuit Court of Kanawha County to a rule in mandamus directing the DCR and DHS to show cause why the Court should not immediately order, as a form of injunctive relief, that the departments public the text of its legislative rules as requested herein.
Click here to read the ACLU’s petition.