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FAQ about the Department of Corrections
How can I find out who someone's agent is?
Call master records at 608-240-3750. Be ready to provide the person's name and date of birth or inmate number.

How do I file a complaint against an agent?
Write a letter to the agent's supervisor, copy to the regional office.

Who is in charge of the Parole Commission, and how do I reach them?
Dean Stensberg is the chair of the commission; phone: 608-240-7284.

Who is the Legal Custodian, and with whom should I speak about open records requests?
Office of Records Management Director Bill Clausius is the DOC's legal custodian. Direct your written inquiry to his attention at the address listed below.

How do I make a public records request?
A public records request may be made verbally or in writing. Your request must specify a reasonably limited subject matter and time frame. DOC charges $0.25 per page (double sided pages count as two pages) plus postage, or $0.24 per page delivered electronically. The preferred method of receiving requests is in writing to ensure accuracy and that the full request is responded to. Please use one of the below methods to make a request.

The best way to get the most time efficient response is to make your request directly to the institution or office that would have the record you are searching for. Address your request to the legal custodian’s attention.

If you are not sure where to send your request, you may send it to:

WI Department of Corrections
Office of Records Management/Record(s) Request
P.O. Box 7925
Madison, WI 53707-7925

Public Records Compliance Officer
Phone: 608-240-5490

What is a public record?
Wisconsin Stat § 19.32(2) defines a “Record” as any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual, or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority. These records are created or received by state agencies during the course of business and kept in connection with official purpose or function of the agency. However, not everything a public official or employee creates is a public record.

What is a public records request?
A public records request is a request for records. Your request should include your name, along with the name of your organization; mailing address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, and the description of records you wish to receive with as many details as possible to help identify what you are seeking. The more information you provide to us, the easier it is for the Agency to respond to your request quickly and accurately. Reminder - a general question is not a public records request.

How long does it take to get public records?
Wisconsin Statute 19.35(4)(a) states that each authority, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the authority's determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons therefore. Reasonable time for a response depends on the nature of the request, the extent of the request, the staff, and other resources available to the authority to process the request and related considerations.

Does a public record request need to be in writing?
No, your request does not have to be in writing. You can make a verbal request.

Who can request public records?
Generally, any person who requests inspection or a copy of a record. Wis. Stat. § 19.32(3). Exception: Any of the following persons are defined as “requesters” only to the extent that the person requests inspection or copies of a record that contains specific references to that person or his or her minor children for whom the person has not been denied physical placement under Wis. Stat. ch. 767: a. A person committed under the mental health law, sex crimes law, sex predator law, or found not guilty by reasons of disease or defect, while that person is placed in an inpatient treatment facility. Wis. Stat. § 19.32(1b), (1d), and (3). b. A person incarcerated in a state prison, county jail, county house of correction or other state, county or municipal correctional detention facility, or who is confined as a condition of probation. Wis. Stat. § 19.32(1c), (1e), and (3).

Who processes my request for public records?
The DOC has many different types of records in the agency. Staff members are tasked as legal custodians based on the types of records they manage.

What is the copy fee?
The public disclosure copy fee is 25 cents per page per side plus postage, as established in Wis. Stat. 19.35(3)(a). Payment must be received before records will be mailed to the requestor. Fees for health care records are charged in accordance with s. 146.83 Wis. Stats.

Is there a charge associated with making a public records request?
Wisconsin Statute 19.35(4)(a) states that each authority, upon request for any record, shall, as soon as practicable and without delay, either fill the request or notify the requester of the authority's determination to deny the request in whole or in part and the reasons therefore. Reasonable time for a response depends on the nature of the request, the extent of the request, the staff, and other resources available to the authority to process the request and related considerations.

What is a statutory exemption?
Exemptions are generally intended to prevent invasion of privacy and the use of public records for personal, commercial, or political gain. Further, exemptions are intended to restrict disclosure of some details within specific areas of the law, such as criminal non-conviction data and the protection of health care information. Some of the information that may be exempt includes:
  • Information regarding agency personnel and volunteers, such as home phone numbers, home addresses, and employment applications
  • Social security numbers
  • Examination test scores
  • Victim/Witness identification
  • Non-conviction data
  • Health diagnosis
  • Certain investigative records