Saturday, September 30, 2006

Governor Orders CDCR to Ease Media Access Regulations for Prison Visits

Inmate Interviews with Non-Violent Criminals to be Allowed if Adopted

Sacramento - Responding to Governor Schwarzenegger's call for more media access in state prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will propose changes to its media access regulations to allow media increased access to certain inmates while still protecting crime victims and their families.

The move follows the Governor's veto of SB 1521, which would have cleared the way for prearranged inmate interviews with media for virtually any inmate.

The proposed changes will strengthen and update CDCR's regulations to incorporate many provisions of the SB 1521, codify existing Department practice, establish clear standards to make media access consistent statewide, and reflect technological advances in the media industry.

"Our regulations takes into consideration many of the aspects proposed in SB 1521 but stops short of allowing prearranged interviews with violent inmates," said CDCR Secretary James Tilton. "I believe such prearranged interviews will glorify notorious inmates and would be hurtful to the victim and their families."

The media access regulation would:

  • Consider media requests for interviews of non-violent felons. Inmates convicted of felony crimes considered serious or violent or convicted of crimes that requires lifetime registration as a sex offender will not be granted prearranged interviews with media;
  • CDCR must respond to written requests from the media to access a CDCR institution or facility within 48 hours;
  • Establishes standards to make media access to institution and facilities consistent statewide.
The Department will submit the proposed regulations to the Office of Administrative Law to be adopted. Click here for more information on CDCR's media regulations. The following Fact Sheets are also available: