The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has refiled its media access regulations with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on the basis of "operational necessity." This allows the regulations to remain in effect for 160 days while the department responds to comments regarding the new media policy.
Contrary to earlier reports in the news media, the regulations have not been refiled as "emergency" regulations.
The regulations eliminate in-person media interviews with specific inmates and eliminate the confidential status of inmate-media correspondence. They have been in effect since their adoption April 8, 1996. They do not affect the media's ability to speak by telephone with inmates or correspond with them.
As required by state law, the department submitted the regulations to OAL for approval earlier this year. On Oct. 28, 1996, OAL notified CDC that it intended to disapprove the regulations based on concerns over the department's response to several comments posed by the Prison Law Office and Senator Quentin Kopp.
The department now has 160 days to draft and submit its response to OAL. Under legal procedures, CDC must either modify its proposal to address the concerns of the commenters or give adequate reasons why it did not do so.