Gov. Ducey and Dir. Shinn: Let people in prison talk to reporters!

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In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, and Reentry (ADCRR) silently changed its media policy creating barriers for incarcerated people to talk to reporters.

People in prison previously could talk to media on the phone for free. They are now forced to pay the same standard fee they pay for other phone calls to talk to reporters. Additionally, ADCRR has imposed a long approval process and a $25 fee for reporters who want to interview incarcerated people over the phone. This policy change is a clear attempt to hide what is happening behind bars. It is dehumanizing and dangerous for people in prison, especially during the current health crisis.

We have the right to know what is happening to our loved ones inside Arizona prisons and journalists play an important role in exposing what happens behind prison walls. We urge Gov. Doug Ducey to direct David Shinn to reverse the policy immediately. The First Amendment does not stop at the prison walls. Join us by contacting Gov. Ducey today.

Message recipients:

Governor Doug Ducey

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Let people in prison talk to reporters.

On July 9th, Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn made alarming changes to Department Order 207-Media Relations. I am writing to ask you to direct Director Shinn to reverse the changes made to this policy.

ADCRR has confirmed to reporters that under the new policy, if an incarcerated person wants to partake in a media interview by phone, they must wait up to a month or longer for the reporter to be “approved” and the reporter must pay a $25 fee. The incarcerated person is also required to pay for the cost of the phone call as they must with any other call. It was previously free for them to talk to reporters on the phone. This is unacceptable.

The Department of Corrections operates on a $1.1 billion budget. As a taxpayer, I think it’s critical to know what’s going on inside Arizona prisons. Journalists play a crucial role in amplifying the concerns that people in prison and corrections staff have about what happens behind prison walls– a role that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.

I am asking you to direct Director David Shinn to reverse the changes made to Order 207. Incarcerated people have a right to talk to the press.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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