Okla. DOC to limit media access to state prisons

"Specific authorization" will be required for audio and video recording inside state prisons

By Cary Aspinwall
Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has added new restrictions to its policies on media access to state prisons, requiring "specific authorization" for video or audio recording.

Department officials posted an addendum to their media access policies on the agency's website this week. The new policy allows the DOC to determine before granting interviews whether sufficient personnel will be on hand to physically search members of the media before they can enter a prison.

All requests for interviews and tours must go through the agency's communications staff and/or the associate directors and director, except for "legislative requests."

Earlier this month, the agency announced that it was temporarily prohibiting the news media from bringing any cameras or recording equipment inside correctional facilities, regardless of the interview topic.

Newly appointed DOC Director Robert Patton said he wanted time to review the previous policy, saying he was "not comfortable with it."

DOC officials had notified the Tulsa World at the time that requests to bring photographers inside prisons for two separate interviews were denied, saying only a reporter would be allowed, with no recording equipment.

It was a departure from previous policy, which typically allowed access for photographers and videographers, provided that they went through security checks and that media requests were made far enough in advance.

Full story: Oklahoma Department of Corrections to limit media access to state prisons

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