Is It Harder For Prisoners To Get Hold Of Records In England Or The U.S. State of Louisiana

Is It Harder For Prisoners To Get Hold Of Records In England Or The U.S. State of Louisiana?

Do Prisoners Have The Legal Right To Access Their Police Record In England And Wales?

Prisoners held in England and Wales can automatically access their full police record, can’t they? Well, contrary to popular belief such prisoners often find the process weighed against them and struggle to get sight of files held by police disclosed.

It Is Tougher For Prisoners Held In Louisiana To Gain Access To Police Files, Isn’t It?

What Is the Contrasting Position in The U.S. State of Louisiana? The U.S. justice system has a fearsome reputation. On sentencing policy, life sentences mean whole life sentences. This is to further the aims of sentencing such as deterrence of others from committing crimes and the punishment of offenders. Many states of the United States of America are comparatively sterner than the United Kingdom has been in recent decades as evidenced by the death penalty remaining in force in the many U.S. States. Many have perceived the UK as a soft touch.

Under its respective amendments, those persons finding themselves incarcerated under the inherent jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana and their teams of legal representatives often find that they have a higher probability of successfully requesting for their entire respective file of documents to be disclosed.

Why Do UK Prisoners Find It So Difficult to Access Their Police Files Compared To Their Louisianan Counterparts?

Compared to their Louisiana counterparts, prisoners, unfortunate enough to be incarcerated in England and Wales, often struggle to access their basic files from the police. Additionally, the UK police authorities are often the final arbiter when choices are made to disclose respective police files to prisoners. Emma Bolton from APPEAL, a campaign group criticized the UK police for lacking neutrality and having decision-making powers over what material to disclose.

Hearing Transcripts

Comparing what usually happens when prisoners try accessing full written transcriptions of court proceedings in the jurisdiction of Louisiana with the situation in England and Wales the contrast could not be starker. A recent APPEAL survey found that prisoners have a relatively trouble-free time when requesting copies of transcripts of events that took place during proceedings in court in Louisiana. However, APPEAL found that those prisoners held in the England and Wales jurisdiction had a trying time (forgive the unintended pun) when they requested to see a contemporaneous written record of what took place in respective hearings, in comparison to their Louisianan counterparts in the United States jurisdiction.


Many people think they have the right to access audio recordings of court hearings without delay under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. However, this is something of a misconception in practice as they are often prevented from accessing such an audio recording. Firstly, due to price. Very often finance presents a major barrier to accessing complete written records of recordings. A second challenge is a time. APPEAL found that the time available to access such recordings is very restrictive and audio copies of hearings are very often only made available for one week. A significant number of parties to a case often discover that UK Government funding of the Criminal Case Review Commission is so low that its ability to keep an archive of such recordings is severely diminished. Emily Bolton from APPEAL commented that without this resource miscarriages of justice such as those sustained by Post Office Staff are likely to continue.

The UK and Louisiana seem to be poles apart in these crucial areas. Time will tell if the balance is restored.

The Legists Content Team


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[1] Wilcox, C – Reform criminal process to cut miscarriages of justice – 20 April 2022 - Reform criminal appeal process to cut miscarriages of justice / Justice and Home Affairs / Policy Commissions / Labour Policymaking

[2] Bolton, E – Reform criminal process to cut miscarriages of justice – APPEAL - 20 April 2022 -

[3] Volokh, Eugene – Prisoners Have The Right to Access Court Records in Their Cases – 23.09.202 - Prisoners Have the Right to Access Court Records in Their Cases (

[4] 2016 Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes – Title 44 – Public Records and Recorders RS 44.31.1 – Exceptions; authority of the custodian – Justia - RS 44:31.1 - Exceptions; authority of the custodian:: 2016 Louisiana Laws: US Codes and Statutes:: US Law:: Justia

[5] General Data Protection Regulation

[6] Data Protection Act 2018



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