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FOIA Frequently Asked Questions

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The following are Frequently Asked Questions concerning CSOSA’s Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"):

What is "FOIA"?

Must I submit a FOIA request to receive agency records from CSOSA?

What should a FOIA request contain?

What are the fees for a FOIA request?

Does CSOSA have an on-site FOIA reading room?

Does CSOSA have an electronic reading room?

How do I submit a FOIA request to CSOSA?

I still have questions!

What is "FOIA"?

The FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, is a Federal law that provides for public access to agency records. The FOIA is located in Section 552 of Title 5 of the United States Code (5 U.S.C. 552). CSOSA's FOIA regulations will be located at Parts 800-899 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 8 (28 C.F.R., Chapter 8, Parts 800-899).

Any agency records in CSOSA's possession or control are subject to the FOIA. The requested records will be provided in full, unless one or more of the nine FOIA exemptions applies. For example, CSOSA may withhold confidential business information that is contained within an agency record. The nine exemptions are all described in detail in the text of the FOIA.

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Must I submit a FOIA request to receive agency records from CSOSA?
See CSOSA’s Electronic Reading Room and the CSOSA Guide for FOIA Requestors. You may want to submit a FOIA request to CSOSA's Office of General Counsel:

Court Services & Offender Supervision Agency
Office of the General Counsel
633 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 1220
Washington, DC 20004-2902
ATTN: Privacy Act Request
(202)220-5355 Voice
(202)220-5350 Fax

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What should a FOIA request contain?

You must submit your request in writing. Please include your name, organization (if any), address, and phone number. Also, you must reasonably describe the records you seek; the more detail you give us, the more quickly we will be able to respond to your request. You may even specify the format (e.g., computer disk) in which you would like the information released. We will make a reasonable effort to provide the information to you in your requested format. Finally, you must state your willingness to pay fees (you may state the maximum amount you are willing to pay) or request a waiver of fees (see below).

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What are the fees for a FOIA request?

In many cases, FOIA requesters are not charged any fees by CSOSA. The FOIA, however, permits agencies to recover part of the cost incurred in complying with FOIA requests. Specifically, CSOSA may recover the following costs:

Search Time: $14 per quarter hour

Review Time: $14 per quarter hour

Photocopying: 25¢ per page

Please note that CSOSA will provide records to educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media for the cost of reproduction alone. Further, no fee will be charged to such entities for the costs of photocopying the first 100 pages of documents. Commercial use requesters will be charged all costs listed above. Requesters that are not otherwise described in this paragraph will be charged for search and duplication, but will not be charged for the first two hours of search time or the cost of photocopying the first 100 pages of documents. Please note that CSOSA is authorized to recover search and review costs even if no responsive records are found or, after review, there is no disclosure of records.

A waiver or reduction of fees may be authorized in cases where disclosure of information is in the public interest, i.e., because the disclosure is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

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Does CSOSA have an on-site FOIA reading room?

The FOIA requires agencies to make certain records available for public inspection and copying in an agency "reading room." Because CSOSA rarely receives requests to review FOIA records onsite, the agency does not maintain a permanent reading room. Upon reasonable notice, however, CSOSA will make space available for reading room purposes at its office in Washington, D.C.

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Does CSOSA have an electronic reading room?

Yes. CSOSA's Electronic Reading Room contains documents specifically identified for inclusion by the Electronic FOIA Amendments of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-231. Other documents of general interest will also be included. Documents will be added on an ongoing basis as they are created or identified.

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How do I submit a FOIA request to CSOSA?

You may mail your FOIA request to:


Court Services & Offender Supervision Agency
Office of the General Counsel
633 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 1220
Washington, DC 20004-2902
ATTN: Privacy Act Request

Or, you may fax your request to (202) 220-5350, Attention: Renee Barley, FOIA Officer. If you send your request by facsimile, you do not need to mail a follow-up letter.

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I still have questions!

If this information has not answered all of your FOIA questions, please contact CSOSA's FOIA Officer, Renee Barley, at (202) 220-5355.

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Key Bridge, Washington, D.C.

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