Texas Attorney General Opinion: MW-381 Page: 2 of 5
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Mr. W. J. Estelle, Jr. - Page 2
pose, the inmate is presently incarcerated in a facility of the
Department of Corrections. In view of the potentially harmful effects
upon the rehabilitation of an inmate which disclosure of his records
might produce, we decline to extend the rationale of Hutchins, to
include persons presently incarcerated, nor do we pass on the
availability of such records to former inmates.
As this office has frequently indicated, the Open Records Act,
article 6252-17a, V.T.C.S.:
deals primarily with the general public's right to
information, and does not provide for a special
right of access to the subject of records.
Attorney General Opinion MW-95 (1979). See also Open Records Decision
Nos. 127 (1976); 108 (1975). Thus, under the Open Records Act, an
inmate would have no greater access to his medical file than would any
other member of the public.
You first contend that inmate medical records are excepted from
disclosure by section 3(a)(1) of the Open Records Act as "information
deemed confidential by law," in this case, sections 26 and 27 of
article 42.12, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. That statute
Sec. 26. The Board of Pardons and Paroles
shall have general responsibility for the
investigation and supervision of all prisoners
released on parole and to mandatory supervision.
For the discharge of this responsibility, there is
hereby created with the Board of Pardons and
Paroles, a Division of Parole Supervision.
Subject to the general direction of the Board of
Pardons and Paroles, the Division of Parole
Supervision, including its field staff shall be
responsible for obtaining and assembling any facts
the Board of Pardons and Paroles may desire in
considering parole eligibility, in establishing a
mandatory supervision plan, and for investigating
and supervising paroled prisoners and prisoners
released to mandatory supervision to see that the
conditions of parole and mandatory supervision are
complied with, and for making such periodic
reports on the progress of parolees and prisoners
released to mandatory supervision as the Board may
Sec. 27. All information obtained in
connection with inmates of the Texas Department of
Corrections subject to parole, release to
mandatory supervision, or executive clemency or
individuals who may be on mandatory supervision or
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: MW-381, text, 1981; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth272226/m1/2/: accessed February 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.