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Reporter Access to Inmates

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections does NOT permit on-camera interviews with specific inmates or access that in any way would allow a specific inmate to be identifiable -- no faces may be filmed, no last names may be used at any time.

No recording devices are permitted in our visiting rooms. 
Even if a reporter is covering an official DOC program involving inmates, at no time will inmate faces be filmed or last names be used.


Specific/Individual Inmate Contact:
Reporters have the same access to an inmate as do an inmate's family members and friends.
To visit a specific inmate, a reporter should write to the inmate and ask the inmate to place his/her name on the inmate's visiting list. The reporter should also ask the inmate to let him/her know once his/her name appears on the visiting list. Once added to the visiting list, the reporter may make arrangements with the inmate to visit him or her. Reporters follow the same rules as all other visitors -- including the fact that NO RECORDING DEVICES ARE ALLOWED IN INSTITUTION VISITING ROOMS. That means no still or video cameras, no tape recorders. Individuals identified as reporters on the visiting list are permitted to take a reporter's notepad and pencil into the visiting area.
To receive a collect telephone call from an inmate, a reporter should write to the inmate and ask the inmate to place his/her name on the inmate's telephone list. Once the reporter's name has been added to the telephone list, the inmate may call the reporter collect. Depending on the inmate's housing status, telephone calls may range in length, but none last longer than 15 minutes. Individuals should be aware of the fact that the Department of Corrections has the right to monitor and record inmate telephone calls.
Reporters Wishing to Cover Prison Programs/Inmate in Programs:
First, it should be noted that AT NO TIME does the DOC allow inmate faces to be photographed and/or filmed.
Reporters wishing access to prison programs (such as the education program, the puppy training program or a vocational program) and/or inmates in those programs are required to submit their request on a special DOC form. If access is permitted, at no time will inmate faces be filmed. The DOC reserves the right to review images prior to the media entity's departure from the prison. Failure of reporters/requestors to abide by the policy may result in their being prohibited from entering the facility in the future.
Please contact the Public Information Officer at the state prison of interest or the DOC's Press Office 717-728-4025 or 4026 to receive a copy of the form and/or additional information on this process.
DOC News Media Relations Policy and Forms:
Department of Corrections News Media Relations Policy (DC-ADM 009) 

DOC Related Policies:
DC-ADM 812 ~ Inmate Visiting Privileges  
DC-ADM 818 ~ Automated Inmate Telephone System 
DC-ADM 003 ~ Release of Information