HARTFORD, CT — The Auditors of Public Accounts asked the attorney general for help obtaining a Correction Department report on inmate medical care.
The Correction Department has been refusing to provide copies of a $63,000 consultants report since the summer and its response to the most recent request was no different.
The auditors are seeking a report done by Criminal Justice Institute Inc. which was hired through a personal services agreement in 2016 to review the care of approximately 20 inmate medical cases, and make recommendations about transitioning to a new medical service model.
The auditors requested a copy of the report on July 18, 2017 and against on Sept. 12, 2017.
“The Department of Correction has consistently cited the attorney/client and attorney work product privileges in denying our request for the report,” the auditors wrote Friday.
However, in attempting to complete an audit of the department the auditors, John Geragosian and Rob Kane, believe “we have a duty to determine whether a state agency received the product it paid for.”
But the Correction Department again denied their request.
“This particular record request is unique in nature based on the legal confidentiality associated with the content,” Karen Martucci, director of external affairs, said in a statement. “The agency maintains its position that these records are protected by the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges, which was upheld in a decision by the Freedom of Information Commission. Nonetheless, the Department of Correction respects the right of the state auditors to seek a Formal Opinion form the State’s Attorney General.”
The auditors feel the privilege of the state extends to their office and after eight months without an answer they have no choice but to ask the attorney general to issue a formal opinion.
They asked: “Does the attorney/client, attorney work product or other privilege constitute a permissible basis upon which the Department of Correction may withhold the report from the Auditors of Public Accounts? If not, would providing a copy of the report to the Auditors of Public Accounts breach any such privilege?”
The attorney general’s office declined comment, but acknowledged receipt of the letter.
Last month the Senate Republicans called for a hearing on the inmate medical system, which is undergoing some major changes.
No date has been set, but Republicans continue to work on holding a hearing, according to a spokeswoman.
The auditor’s said they need to know what’s in the report because it could expose the state to liabilities from medical claims.
“Lastly, our role of financial oversight necessitates that we opine on the state’s financial statements to determine whether the state has presented them fairly in all material respect,” the auditors wrote. “The potential of large claims against the state could have a material impact on the state’s financial statements. The contractor’s report is pertinent to that determination.”