Due to a reduction in staffing, inmate visitation will be canceled at the Nebraska State Penitentiary on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Thank you.

Public Records Requests

Public Records Requests

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) adheres to the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712 through 84-712.09) and all other state laws when determining the public disclosure of documents.  The information below is intended to assist individuals who wish to request records from NDCS and should not be considered an establishment of any official rules.  Please consult the Nebraska Public Records Statutes for the official policies governing public records requests.  Additional information on these policies can be found on the Office of the Nebraska Attorney General website

Submitting a Public Records Request

Submitting a Public Records Request
Submitting a Public Records Request
  • ​Before submitting a public records request, confirm that the records you are requesting are not already available to you. 
  • Public records requests should be in writing and should include the following:

    • Your contact information

    • A statement that you are requesting records under the Nebraska Public Records Statutes or Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712

    • A description of the records you are seeking.  Please be specific and include a date range, if applicable.

  • Requests can be sent digitally or through the mail

  • A response to your request will be sent to you within four (4) business days of the date your request was received.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to:
Costs
Timeline
Denial of Requests
Viewing Records In-Person
FOIA Requests

 

How much does a Public Records Request cost?

There is no fee for submitting a request.

While many requests can be fulfilled without a cost to you, some have fees associated with them due to the nature and/or extensiveness of the request.  If fulfilling the request will result in a cost to you, we will provide you with an estimate of this cost.  You must approve the estimated cost before we begin fulfilling the request.  You will only be charged for costs that you have approved.    

 

What types of requests have fees associated with them?

Here are some common reasons why a request will result in a cost to the requester: 

Note that this is NOT a complete list of reasons why a cost may be incurred.  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712 has additional details on costs associated with public records requests.

 

It’s been well over four business days and I haven’t received any response.  What do I do?

It is possible that we never received your request. You may email Public Records Manager Kathleen Kokensparger (Kathleen.Kokensparger@nebraska.gov) to check on the status of your request.

Please keep in mind that requests may not be received on the same day they are sent, particularly if the request is sent after business hours and/or is sent by mail. Response letters sent by mail may not be received on the day they are sent. 

When calculating the four business day timeline, make sure you are excluding state holidays, weekends, and the date the request was received.

 

Will I receive all my records within four business days?

This depends on the nature and extensiveness of your request.

  • If the request can be completed within four business days after receipt and there is no fee associated with the request, you will be sent a final response letter and the requested records within the four business day period.


  • If the entire request cannot be fulfilled within four business days and/or there is a fee associated with the request, you will receive a letter that includes an explanation of the delay, an estimated completion date and cost (if applicable), and an offer to modify or prioritize the items within your request. 

 

How long do I have to decide if I want NDCS to proceed with a request?

  • If you are provided with an estimated cost, you are given ten (10) business days to notify us in writing that you approve the estimated cost or that you would like to modify your request.  If you inform us that you do not approve the estimated cost and do not wish to modify your request or if you do not respond within ten (10) business days, we will consider your request complete and will not proceed to gather the documents. 

  • Requests that do not have a cost associated with them do not require approval for the request to proceed.  NDCS team members will automatically begin fulfilling these requests.  If you decide you no longer want the requested records, please let us know via email.  

 

What are some common requests that get denied?

Here are some common types of records that NDCS has withheld from the public.  This is NOT a complete list.  Always refer to the Nebraska Statutes for the official guidelines on what documents must be withheld.

 

I disagree with NDCS’s decision to withhold certain records from me.  What can I do?

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.03 outlines administrative or judicial avenues you may wish to pursue if you believe records have been withheld contrary to state law.

 

Can I view NDCS’s records in person?

The vast majority of NDCS’s records must be reviewed by staff to determine confidentiality before they can be disclosed to the public.  Members of the public are authorized under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712(1)(a) to view public records at our office during regular business hours.  However, due to this review process, you may find that it is easier to have the records sent to you when they’re ready. 

If you do decide that you would like to view records on-site, we ask that you notify us in advance so that we may begin reviewing the records to determine if any of them must be withheld.  We will communicate with you when our review is complete and notify you of where the records will be located.

Requests for on-site viewing will be subject to the same fees as requests for records that are sent to you.  Payment will be required prior to viewing the records.

 

Can I submit a records request to NDCS under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) instead of the Nebraska Public Records Statutes?

No, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) governs the disclosure of records by federal agencies.  It does not apply to state agencies like NDCS.  The Nebraska Public Records Statutes establish the policies for disclosure of public records by NDCS and other State of Nebraska agencies. 

 

I have a question about NDCS’s public records process that is not covered in this FAQ.  Who do I contact?

You may contact Public Records Manager Kathleen Kokensparger (Kathleen.Kokensparger@nebraska.gov) with any additional questions.

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