43.06C.040  <<  43.06C.050 >>   43.06C.060

Access to facilities, inmates, records.

(1) The ombuds must have reasonable access to correctional facilities at all times necessary to conduct a full investigation of an incident of abuse or neglect. This authority includes the opportunity to interview any inmate, department employee, or other person, including the person thought to be the victim of such abuse, who might be reasonably believed by the facility to have knowledge of the incident under investigation. Such access must be afforded, upon request by the ombuds, when:
(a) An incident is reported or a complaint is made to the office;
(b) The ombuds determines there is probable cause to believe that an incident has or may have occurred; or
(c) The ombuds determines that there is or may be imminent danger of serious abuse or neglect of an inmate.
(2) The ombuds must have reasonable access to department facilities, including all areas which are used by inmates, all areas which are accessible to inmates, and to programs for inmates at reasonable times, which at a minimum must include normal working hours and visiting hours. This access is for the purpose of:
(a) Providing information about individual rights and the services available from the office, including the name, address, and telephone number of the office;
(b) Monitoring compliance with respect to the rights and safety of inmates; and
(c) Inspecting, viewing, photographing, and video recording all areas of the facility which are used by inmates or are accessible to inmates.
(3) Access to inmates includes the opportunity to meet and communicate privately and confidentially with individuals regularly, both formally and informally, by telephone, mail, and in person.
(4) The ombuds has the right to access, inspect, and copy all relevant information, records, or documents in the possession or control of the department that the ombuds considers necessary in an investigation of a complaint filed under this chapter, and the department must assist the ombuds in obtaining the necessary releases for those documents which are specifically restricted or privileged for use by the ombuds.
(5) Following notification from the ombuds with a written demand for access to agency records, the delegated department staff must provide the ombuds with access to the requested documentation not later than twenty business days after the ombuds' written request for the records. Where the records requested by the ombuds pertain to an inmate death, threats of bodily harm including, but not limited to, sexual or physical assaults, or the denial of necessary medical treatment, the records shall be provided within five days unless the ombuds consents to an extension of that time frame.
(6) Upon notice and a request by the ombuds, a state or local government agency or entity that has records that are relevant to a complaint or an investigation conducted by the ombuds must provide the ombuds with access to such records.
(7) The ombuds must work with the department to minimize disruption to the operations of the department due to ombuds activities and must comply with the department's security clearance processes, provided those processes do not impede the activities outlined in this section.


Sunset Act application: See note following chapter digest.
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