FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-19-01


March 13, 2001

Mr. Darrol A. Wardlaw
Greensboro, NC

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your e-mail of February 15, 2001.

Dear Mr. Wardlaw:

You have asked what records of the Virginia Parole Board (the "Board") are available to the public, or to prisoners, under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Specifically, you are interested in accessing a presentence report on behalf of an inmate whom you represent.

Generally, all public bodies are subject to FOIA, which requires public access to records and meetings of a public body. However, subdivision A.1. of § 2.1-341.2 of the Code of Virginia states that the provisions of [FOIA] shall not apply to: (1) the Virginia Parole Board. With the exception of statistical information compiled by the Board concerning the number of inmates considered for discretionary parole or granted parole and the Board's financial records, no other information must be made available to the public under FOIA.

In addition, § 19.2-299 addresses the preparation and confidentiality of presentence reports compiled by probation officers for judges to aid in sentencing. Pursuant to this section, the probation officer must furnish a copy of the report to counsel for the accused and the attorney for the Commonwealth at least five days prior to sentencing. Upon sentencing, the report will be sealed, and is available only by court order.

Thank you for contacting this office. I hope that I have been of assistance.


Maria J.K. Everett
Executive Director