Prison director clears way for face-to-face media interviews
VIRGINIA–Reporters will soon be able to enter state prisons once again for face-to-face interviews after the state prisons director rescinded a ban in early July.
Prisons director Ron Angelone said reporters would be allowed in 42 of the state’s 52 prisons, saying in a letter to the Virginia Press Association that the facilities are now adequately prepared for “some degree” of press accessibility.
Reporters will be allowed to enter both the maximum-security Powhatan Correctional Center and “Death Row” at the Mecklenburg Correctional Center.
Angelone said he is still studying the remaining 10 prisons to determine whether press access will be permitted.
Face-to-face interviews were routinely granted until the governor appointed Angelone corrections chief, who limited access to phone interviews, according to the VPA.
Ground rules to establish including how quickly an interview will be granted after the request is made and how media pools will be set up to deal with multiple requests for interviews have yet to be worked out, but Angelone said in his letter the decision will be made by both prison and media representatives. The VPA expects the rules to be in place and access to be granted by the end of summer.