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ACLU sues state for not releasing prison death records

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii claims the state Department of Public Safety is illegally withholding public records in wrongful prison death lawsuits.

Attorneys representing families of two Hawaii men killed while in an Arizona prison have paid the state more than $5,300 for government records. But a lawsuit filed Thursday claims the state has yet to release a single document.

The complaint says it’s been seven months since lawyers for the families requested access to the documents. The requested documents include information about the state’s oversight of private mainland prisons where inmates from Hawaii are being held because of a lack of space in aging Hawaii facilities.

Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said today the department reserves comment until officials have had time to review the lawsuit.

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