Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1270 Prisons: media access.(2011-2012)

As Amends the Law Today


 Section 6357 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

 (a) The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, upon reasonable notice, shall permit representatives of the news media to interview prisoners in person, including prearranged interviews with specified prisoners and individuals encountered by a representative of the news media while covering a facility tour, activity, event, or program.
(b) During any interview with a prisoner, a representative of the news media may use materials and equipment necessary to conduct the interview, including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, papers, and audio and video recording devices. These items shall be subject to search for the purpose of protecting against an immediate and direct threat to the security of the institution.
(c) A news media representative who desires to conduct a prearranged interview at an institution shall make the request within a reasonable time period prior to the requested interview in writing to the warden or through contact with the institution’s public relations office.
(d) Staff shall notify an inmate of each interview request, and no interview shall be permitted without the inmate’s consent.
(e) An inmate may not receive compensation or anything of value for interviews with the news media.
(f) The warden or the warden’s designated public relations or custodial official shall, within 48 hours of receiving an interview request, notify the news media representative making the request whether the interview has been granted.
(g) After the warden or the warden’s designated public relations or custodial official grants a request for an interview, staff shall, at least two business days prior to the interview, notify any victims of the inmate who have previously notified the warden or Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that they wish to be contacted in the event of an interview request that an interview has been granted.
(h) The warden or his or her designee may deny an interview with a particular prisoner if it is determined that the interview would pose an immediate and direct threat to the security of the institution or the physical safety of a member of the public. Within a reasonable period of time, the representative of the news media shall receive an explanation of the specific reasons for the denial. In order to ensure the security of the institution, the physical safety of the public, and the efficient administration of news media interviews, the department may establish reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions for prison interviews, including limitations on the number of interviews per prisoner in a specified time period, limitations on the amount of audio, video, and film equipment entering the facility for the interview, and arrangements for pool interviews if the number of journalists requesting to interview any one prisoner is excessive.
(i) No prisoner or parolee may have his or her visitation limited or revoked because of a visit or potential visit from a representative of the news media, nor may a prisoner or parolee be punished, reclassified, disciplined, transferred to another prison against his or her wishes, or otherwise retaliated against, for participating in a visit by, or communicating with, a representative of the news media.
(j) Interviews shall not be subject to auditory monitoring.
(k) For the purposes of this section, “representative of the news media” means a journalist who works for, or is under contract to, a newspaper, magazine, wire service, book publisher, or radio or television program, or station or who, through press passes issued by a governmental or police agency, or through similar convincing means, can demonstrate that he or she is a bona fide journalist engaged in the gathering of information for distribution to the public.