FOIA Information

Public Information and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Policy

Our Mission
DJCS is committed to providing information to the public about its agency and programs.

Public Information and Education
Much of the information on this website is public information and available for download.  Flyers, brochures and other educational material are available to download and print.  Some information, such as reports and research papers or documents, are the intellectual property of DJCS and its staff, and are subject to copyright or other protective laws.  Which such information may be copied or disseminated, other reproduction or use is prohibited without the express written permission of DJCS and the author, as well as appropriate attribution.  Many of our publications are in PDF format for easier use.

Freedom of Information
One method of providing information to the public is pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act or FOIA (W. Va. Code ยง29B-1-1 et seq).  The statute is available for your review on the West Virginia Legislature's website at

Because DJCS is a government agency, many files are available for public review.  All requests pursuant to FOIA must be in writing and signed by the applicant.  While we cannot accept an email request, we can accept an email which contains a scanned signed request in PDF format.  The request must clearly set forth the documents being requested.  Address all FOIA requests to:

Joseph C. Thornton, Director
West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services
1124 Smith Street, Suite 3100
Charleston, WV  25301-1323

You may also fax your signed request to 304-558-4446, or email the scanned PDF letter to

Once you have filed a proper FOIA request, you will receive an initial response acknowledging the DJCS has received it.  The response letter will inform you of the date the request was received and the projected date the material may be available.  Once it is determined that DJCS possesses the information relevant to your request and how you may view or receive the information, you will be informed of a specific time the information will be available for inspection.  If the requested information is voluminous, you will be asked to come in to view it, and will be given information on how to schedule a time to do so.  DJCS reserves a right to charge a fee for search and retrieval of the requested information.

DJCS can provide you with copies of the requested materials, if the requested information is not voluminous.  Please specify in your request whether you want to view the requested materials or whether you want copies provided to you.  Copies can be made available in PDF format on a CD or on paper.  The same charge applies for copy and reproduction applies in either format.

Some information may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to state law or to protect an individual's privacy.  This includes any attorney-client or work-product privilege.  DJCS reserves the right to assert any permissible exemption, privilege or privacy law applicable to the requested material.

DJCS reserves the right to request advance payment for materials.  Whether an advance payment or an invoice, please make your check or money order payable to Division of Justice & Community Services.  Please put "FOIA request reimbursement" in the memo line of the check or money order.

DJCS charges a fee of twenty cents ($0.20) per page to cover the cost of reproduction.  DJCS reserves a right to charge a search fee in addition to the cost of reproduction.  The reimbursement or search fee may be waived if the amount to be reimbursed is $10.00 or less.  DJCS may waive the fee for requests by educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media.  DJCS may also waive the fees in circumstances where it reasonably appears that the requestor is indigent or otherwise cannot afford to pay the fees.

Whenever DJCS reasonably believes that a requestor or group of requestors acting in concert is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding reimbursement fees, it may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly.  In so doing, it will presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30 day period have been made in order to avoid reimbursement.  Where requests are separated by a longer period, the office will aggregate them only where there exists a solid base for determining that aggregation is warranted under all the circumstances involved.  Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.

Media Inquiries

If you are a reporter and you would like to interview a member of DJCS staff, please contact Lawrence Messina at 304-558-2930 or by email at  It is our policy to respond to media requests in a timely manner.  However, we do ask reporters to keep in mind that there are times when the information they are seeking is in the possession of an individual who may be working in the field or otherwise not immediately available.