Saturday, December 21, 2002

Media Policies - Adult Institutions

California correctional facilities and programs are operated at public expense for the protection of society. The public has a right and a duty to know how such facilities and programs are being operated. It is the policy of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to make known to the public through the news media all relevant information pertaining to operations of the department and facilities.

Following is a summary of California regulations and department policies and procedures regarding media access and activities. The complete regulations are found in the California Code of Regulations Title 15, Sections 3260 through 3267, found at this link: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Regulations/Adult_Operations/docs/Title152006Final.pdf

Authorized Release of Information

The following data that may be released about an inmate or parolee includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Place of previous residence
  • Commitment information
  • Facility assignments and behavior
  • General state of health
  • Cause of death
  • Nature of injury or critical illness (unless the condition is related to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
  • Sentencing and release actions.
CDCR employee data that may be released includes:
  • Name
  • Civil service classification
  • Age
  • Work assignment
  • Length of service with the department and/or current division or unit
  • Past work assignments
  • Role or function in a newsworthy event
Media Access to Facilities

Access to adult CDCR facilities or contract facilities - prisons, community correctional facilities, re-entry facilities, prisoner mother facilities, and camps - and other CDCR offices including parole offices, requires prior approval of the institution head and the press secretary of the CDCR Office of Public and Employee Communications.

Within a facility, media representatives shall be under the direct supervision of the public information officer or his/her designee.

Media representatives cannot enter security housing units (SHU), condemned units (death row), the execution chamber, Administrative Segregation Units (AdSeg or ASU) or any area currently affected by an emergency without approval of the CDCR Secretary, the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, or designee.

There may be limited access to other areas. These may include control booths, guard towers, protective housing units, reception centers, and units housing mentally, seriously or terminally ill inmates.

Media representatives need to supply a full name, date of birth, social security number and driver's license number to process a security clearance for access to an institution. Media representatives from outside the United States need to supply a full name, date of birth and passport information. If it is a breaking story, media representatives may be allowed access to an area outside the secure perimeter of the facility.

Requests to attend life prisoner parole hearings are handled by the Board of Parole Hearings at (916) 323-2993.

Writing, Telephoning and Visiting an Inmate

Media representatives may contact any state prison inmate by mail. It is not necessary for media to notify CDCR before communicating with an inmate. Incoming letters are opened, inspected for contraband, subject to be read, and then forwarded to the inmate. To ensure prompt processing, mail the letter to the inmate using his/her full name and CDC number in care of the institution where he/she is incarcerated. To get an inmate's CDC number, call the Inmate Check Line at (916) 557-5933. You must have the correct date of birth to obtain the CDC number.

Most inmates have access to telephones and can make outgoing collect calls on designated telephones according to their privilege group. Limitations are placed on the frequency of such calls to allow equal access to telephones by all inmates. When corresponding with an inmate, media representatives may provide a telephone number where an inmate can call them collect. It is up to the inmate to initiate the call. No restriction is placed on the identity or relationship to the inmate of the person called providing the person agrees to accept all charges for the call. Telephone calls are limited to 15 minutes and may be recorded. Media representatives may also record the call with the inmate's permission. Messages will not be taken by staff to inmates.

All inmates are allowed visits with approved visitors. If a media representative wishes to visit an inmate, write to the inmate and ask him/her to send you a CDC Form 106, Visiting Questionnaire. Your completed questionnaire must be submitted and approved by the institution before your visit. The application process takes about 30 working days. All approved visitors - friend, relative, attorney, or member of the media - may visit; however, they may not bring in cameras or recording devices. The institution will provide, upon request, pencil and paper to an adult visitor as needed. For more information about visiting, call the toll-free CDCR Visiting Information number at 1-800-374-8474 or go to this link: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Visitors/index.html

Media Interviews

Media representatives can interview inmates or parolees randomly and random or specific-person face-to-face interviews with staff. Such interviews may be restricted by time, place, duration, and the number of people in a media crew.

Random interviews of inmates involved in a specific activity or program, or encountered while covering a facility activity or event, shall be limited to the time, areas and segments of the facility population designated by the institution head.

Inmates may not participate in specific-person, face-to-face interviews. No inmate, parolee or staff shall be interviewed against their will.

Use of cameras or recording devices inside an institution or on state property requires prior approval.

A CDC Form 146, Inmate Declaration To News Media Contact, shall be completed whenever an inmate is the subject of a still, motion picture or other recording intended for use by a television or radio station, or newspaper, magazine or other publication.

Media interviews shall not be permitted with an inmate suffering from a mental illness when, in the opinion of a psychiatrist or psychologist, the inmate is not capable of giving informed consent.

Controlled access may be permitted to seriously or terminally ill patients and their housing areas.

Media representatives or their organization may be required to pay the security or escort costs provided for interviews.

Cameras and Other Audio or Visual Recording Devices

Possession of any camera, wireless microphone or other recording device within a CDCR facility is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the institution head. A location agreement and a film permit from the California Film Commission may be required for filming on state property.

An inmate's consent is not required in settings like an exercise yard or dining hall where individuals are not singled out or where an inmate's identity is not revealed. Before such shots are taken however, inmates shall be advised so those who do not want to be recognized may turn away or leave the area.

Unless there is a specified threat of imminent danger to an inmate or parolee by releasing their photograph, media representatives shall be permitted access to identification photographs (mug shots) without the inmate's or parolee's consent.

Staff cannot prohibit a person who is not on state property from photographing, filming, video taping or otherwise recording any department facilities, employees, inmates, parolees or equipment.

Non-News Access to CDC Facilities

All non-news motion picture, radio, or television programs produced at any CDCR facility must have prior approval. For definition purposes, non-news related productions include features, documentaries, news magazine programs, commercials, and pilots for proposed news, public information, religious and entertainment television programs.

The process for approval consideration begins with a written request to the CDCR Press Office. The request should include:

  • Details of the project and production location needs
  • Production schedule and duration
  • Crew size
  • Any access to inmates
  • Script sections that pertain to CDCR
  • Scenes to be filmed inside a CDCR facility
  • Type/quantity of production equipment on premises
  • Any satellite or microwave transmission from a CDCR facility
If project approval is given, a location agreement must be executed with the parent firm and a California Film Commission permit (http://www.film.ca.gov/state/film/film_homepage.jsp) will be required along with evidence of financial responsibility and liability insurance in the amount of at least $1 million with the State of California, its offices, employees, and agents as the "additional insureds." Part of the agreement provides for defending and indemnifying the State against any lawsuits. Another part of the agreement also states that the parent firm is responsible for reasonable staffing costs, including benefits and overtime rates of pay, directly associated with its filming activities.

Editorial researchers, freelance writers, authors of books, independent filmmakers, and other unaccredited media must provide proof of employment by an accredited publication/production company, or have evidence that an accredited publication/production company has contracted to purchase the completed project.

Inmates may not participate in specific-person, face-to-face interviews. Random face-to-face interviews may be permitted with inmates as stipulated by the location agreement.

Please allow a minimum of 20 working days for the least complicated request. There are no assurances that access will be granted; however, CDCR does try to accommodate requests within available resources consistent with the safe and secure operations of its institutions and California law.

CDCR Press Office (916) 445-4950

The Press Office, located at CDCR headquarters in Sacramento, articulates the Department's position on issues, manages crisis communications, solicits media coverage of departmental activities, serves as a liaison to the media, and releases information to the public. The Press Office responds to media requests made under the California Public Records Act.

The Press Office also provides other services to media:

Inmate Check Line

Media representatives needing information about a convicted felon sent to state prison in California can call the Press Office's Inmate Check Line. To request whether an individual has been sent to state prison, call (916) 557-5933. Please provide the full name and either the date of birth or the CDC number. Sentencing and/or release information will be faxed within 24 hours.

Stock Video Footage and Still Photographs

The Office of Public and Employee Communications maintains a library of stock video footage and still photographs and makes these available to the media upon request. There is current and archived footage and photographs of correctional facilities and programs, including restricted or limited access areas such as control booths, guard towers, the execution chamber, death row, and Administrative Segregation and Security Housing Units.

Media Inquiries

The Press Office researches and responds to inquiries from the media. Facts are gathered as quickly as possible and provided to the inquirer. If the requested facts are not known or are otherwise unavailable, the inquirer shall be informed and the reasons therefore.

Frequently asked questions about CDCR can be found on the CDCR Website

Press advisories and releases are posted on the CDCR website at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/News/2007_Press_Releases/index.html

Statistics and information about capital punishment are found at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Reports_Research/capital.html

The weekly population reports for adult prisoners and adult parolees are found at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Reports_Research/Offender_Information_Services_Branch/Population_Reports.asp

There are other reports about adult inmates and parolees, including characteristics, recidivism rates, behavior, time served and historical trends. There are also reports about DNA sampling and inmates serving three-strikes sentences. These reports can be found on the Offender Information Reports page.

Media Access to Scheduled Executions

CDCR's Press Office processes all media requests for access to San Quentin State Prison to cover scheduled executions. The Press Office also coordinates media requests to witness executions.

Escapes

In the event of an actual or suspected escape, the public information officer or designee shall notify radio and television stations and newspapers in the surrounding communities and the missing inmate's home community. The prison will provide the missing inmate's physical description, estimated time of disappearance, an identification photograph, the facility's search efforts and cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

FACT SHEET

THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS’ COMPUTER REFURBISHING PROGRAM
  • To address the need for computer technology in California’s K-12 public schools, the California Department of Corrections began the Computer Refurbishing Program in 1994.
  • For the past three years, the Department of Corrections has partnered with Technology Training Foundation of America, a statewide non-profit organization, to bridge the digital divide by providing high-quality computers and peripherals free of charge to California schoolchildren.
  • The donated computers are refurbished through the Department of Corrections’ Computer Refurbishing Program. In the program, state prison inmates are provided hands-on training, giving them useful skills that will help prepare them for a future outside prison and an opportunity to give back to their communities. The program also saves schools and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
  • The 1,500 computers given on November 20, 2002 to the Sacramento City Unified School District, the Robla School District and the Grant Joint Union High School District, were refurbished by inmates at California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville; Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown and Correctional Training Facility in Soledad. Nissan North America, Raley’s supermarkets and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control donated the retired computers for this project.
  • Nine prisons have a Computer Refurbishing Program. In the first year of the Department of Corrections’ program, 2,000 refurbished computers made their way to California classrooms. To date, more than 88,000 computers have been given away to public schools statewide at no cost to the recipients through the department’s computer donation partnerships.
  • Donations of retired computers come from major corporations, companies, state agencies and individuals helping to level the technological playing field for California schoolchildren.
  • All of the unusable parts and equipment are disposed of through the Atwater Federal Penitentiary’s UNICOR Recycling Program. Nothing is sent to landfills as waste. Without this resource, the Computer Refurbishing Program would not be possible.
  • The Department of Corrections’ Computer Refurbishing Program offers the most affordable solution to the technology needs of California public schools.

Friday, November 15, 2002

MEDIA ADVISORY

SACRAMENTO AREA SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE 1,500 COMPUTERS

WHAT: The Technology Training Foundation of America and the California Department of Corrections will give away 1,500 refurbished computers to the Sacramento City Unified School District, the Robla School District and the Grant Joint Union High School District.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 20, 2002 at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Edward Kemble Elementary School, 7495 29th Street in Sacramento.

WHO: The Department of Corrections and the Technology Training Foundation of America (TTFA), a statewide non-profit organization, have partnered to bridge the digital divide by providing high-quality computers and peripherals free of charge to California public schools. The donated computers are refurbished through the Department of Corrections’ Computer Refurbishing Program, providing hands-on computer training for state prison inmates and an opportunity for them to give useful technology to public schools, saving schools and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

Nissan North America, Raley’s supermarkets, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control donated retired computers for this project.

Representatives from TTFA, the Department of Corrections, equipment donor companies, the school districts receiving the donated computers and elected representatives will be at the presentation.

BACKGROUND

For more than three years, TTFA and the California Department of Corrections have joined in a cooperative effort to give refurbished computers to California school children. Private industries, state agencies and individual donors provide computer equipment. They are then refurbished by inmates in the Department of Corrections’ Computer Refurbishing Program. The computers that can be brought up to school district technology standards are donated free of charge to schools throughout the state. Through computer donation partnerships, the Department of Corrections has helped place more than 88,000 computers into public schools statewide since 1994 at no cost to the recipients.

Friday, January 4, 2002

MEDIA ACCESS FOR SCHEDULED EXECUTION

The execution of Stephen Wayne Anderson , convicted of one-count of first degree murder and one count of burglary, is set by court order for January 29, 2002, at San Quentin State Prison.

Access Inquiries:

Direct all requests and inquiries regarding access to San Quentin State Prison to the California Department of Corrections Communications Office in Sacramento, which is responsible for all media credentials. Requests are due by 5 p.m., Friday, January 18, 2002. (See "Credentials")

Reporters:

Up to 125 news media representatives may be admitted to the media center Building at San Quentin to attend news briefings and a news conference after the execution. To accommodate as many media firms as possible, each news media organization applying will be limited to one (1) representative. Firms selected to send a news reporter to witness the execution will be allowed a separate representative to the media center.

Audio/Visual/Still Photographs:

In anticipation that interest may exceed space, pool arrangements may be necessary for audio/video feeds and still photographs from inside the media center. The pool will be limited to two (2) television camera operators, two (2) still photographers, and one (1) audio engineer. The Northern California Radio Television News Directors’ Association and the Radio Television News Association in Southern California arrange the pool.

Live Broadcasts:

On-grounds parking is limited. Television and radio stations are limited to one (1) satellite or microwave vehicle.

Television Technicians:

Television technicians or microwave broadcast vehicles will be permitted three (3) support personnel (engineer, camera operator, and producer).

Radio Technicians:

Radio broadcast vehicles will be allowed two (2) support personnel (engineer and producer).

Credentials:

For media credentials, send a written request signed by the news department manager on company letterhead with the name(s) of the proposed representatives, their dates of birth, driver’s license number and expiration dates, social security numbers, and size of vehicle for live broadcast purposes to:

CDC Communications
1515 S Street, Room 113S
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, California 94283-0001

All written requests must be received no later than 5 p.m., Friday, January 18, 2002. Media witnesses will be selected from the requests received by that time. Telephone requests will NOT be accepted.

Security clearances are required for each individual applying for access to San Quentin. The clearance process will begin after the application deadline. No assurances can be provided that security clearances for the requests, including personnel substitutions, received after the filing period closes January 18, will be completed in time to permit access to the prison January 28, 2002.

Facilities:

The media center has 60-amp electrical service with a limited number of outlets. There are seven pay telephones. Media orders for private telephone hookups must be arranged with Pacific Bell. Pacific Bell will coordinate the actual installation with San Quentin. There is one soft drink vending machine at the media center. Media personnel should bring their own food. Only broadcast microwave and satellite vans and their support personnel providing "live feeds" will be permitted in a parking lot adjacent to the In-Service Training (IST) building.