Corrections - Administration - Media Relations

Published: 2012-04-09

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R251. Corrections, Administration.
R251-106. Media Relations.
R251-106-1. Authority and Purpose.
(1) This rule is authorized under Sections 63G-3-201, 64-13-10, 63G-2-201(12), 63G-2-204, and 77-19-11, of the Utah Code.
(2) The purpose of this rule is to define the UDC's policy under which persons representing the news media shall be allowed access to correctional institutions, inmates and other supervised offenders. It is also intended to define UDC actions when a need exists for the safeguarding of information.
R251-106-2. Definitions.
(1) "News magazines" means magazines having a general circulation being distributed or sold to the general public by news stands, by mail circulation, or both.
(2) "News media" means collectively those involved with news gathering for newspapers, news magazines, radio, wire services, television or other news services.
(3) "News media members" means persons over the age of eighteen who are primarily employed in the business of gathering or reporting news for newspapers, news magazines, national or international news services, or radio or television stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission or other recognized news services.
(4) "Newspaper" means, for the purposes of this rule, the publication being circulated among the general public, and containing items of general interest to the public such as political, commercial, religious or social affairs.
(5) "Press" means the print media; also see "news media", generally.
(6) "UDC" means the Utah Department of Corrections;
(7) "UDC-issued media identification" means identification issued by the UDC to members of the news media to ensure a consistent, controlled, dependable means of recognition.
R251-106-3. Standards and Procedures.
(1) It is the policy of the UDC to permit press access to facilities, inmates, supervised offenders and information. Access shall be:
(a) consistent with the requirements of the constitutions and laws of the United States and State of Utah;
(b) at a level no more restrictive than that allowed the general public.
(2) Access by news media members shall be restricted:
(a) when the UDC finds it necessary to further its legitimate governmental interests, or to maintain safety, security, order, discipline and program goals;
(b) to conform with statutory and constitutional privacy requirements as interpreted by binding case precedent;
(c) when information or access would be contrary to state interests on matters under litigation; or
(d) to safeguard the privacy interests of those under the supervision of the UDC.
(3) The UDC shall make all reasonable efforts to see that the public is kept informed concerning its operations by:
(a) participating and cooperating with the news media to communicate the UDC's mission, goals, policy, procedures, operation, and activities;
(b) providing information in a timely manner, while avoiding disruption or compromise of the UDC's legitimate interests; and
(c) releasing information in accordance with the policy, procedures and requirements of law to provide the public with knowledge about:
(i) UDC philosophy, operations and activities; and
(ii) significant issues and problems facing the UDC.
(4) Inmates shall not be denied the opportunity to communicate with the news media. However, the UDC reserves the right to regulate the manner in which the communication may occur, including:
(a) defining the channels of communication and the circumstances of their use; and
(b) temporarily suspending communication during exigent circumstances including:
(i) riots;
(ii) hostage situations;
(iii) fires or other disasters;
(iv) other inmate disorders; or
(v) emergency lock-down conditions.
(5) Because the UDC faces special management problems with the prison's operation from face-to-face interviews between inmates and the news media:
(a) news media members' requests for face-to-face interviews shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by considering the mental competence of the inmate, pending appeals, safety, security, and management issues of the institution;
(b) requests for face-to-face interviews shall be submitted to the Public Information Officer; and
(c) interviews which the UDC determines will jeopardize its legitimate interests, or those of a prison facility, shall not be approved.
(6) Access to executions by the news media shall be consistent with the requirements of Section 77-19-11, of the Utah Code.
(7) News media members shall obtain UDC-issued media identification or shall receive special permission for access to prison property or other UDC Facilities. Special permission may be granted only by the Public Information Officer or Executive Director.
(8) No equipment shall be taken inside the facility unless specifically approved by the Public Information Officer, Deputy Director, or Executive Director. Filming or other recording visits are separate issues and involve individual consideration and decisions.
(9) Ground rules for each opportunity for facility access, filming or recording shall be determined prior to entry.
(10) Access may be terminated at any time without warning, if:
(a) the conditions, ground rules, or other regulations are violated by news media members involved in the access opportunity;
(b) an inmate disorder or other disruption develops;
(c) staff members detect problems created by the media visit which threaten security, safety or order in the facility; or
(d) other reasons related to the legitimate interests of the UDC are present.
(11) Deliberate violation of regulations or other serious misconduct during a facility visit:
(a) shall result in the temporary loss of UDC-issued media identification; and
(b) may result in the permanent loss of UDC-issued media identification.
KEY: corrections, press, media, prisons
Date of Last Change: April 9, 2012
Notice of Continuation: November 12, 2021
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 63G-2-102; 63G-3-201; 64-13-10; 64-13-17; 77-19-11