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Prison officials move to restrict media access

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Prison officials move to restrict media access06/03/96 SOUTH CAROLINA--In mid-May, the South Carolina Corrections Department implemented new rules eliminating press…

Prison officials move to restrict media access

06/03/96

SOUTH CAROLINA–In mid-May, the South Carolina Corrections Department implemented new rules eliminating press interviews with death row inmates before executions.

Corrections Department Director Michael Moore initiated the change after a May 31 execution date was set for inmate Robert South for murdering a West Columbia police officer. A spokesman for the Department told the Associated Press that Moore wants to avoid giving “celebrity status” to death row inmates, and that the change is needed to run the prisons more smoothly. Interviews disrupt the prison operations and burden the staff, the spokesman said.

This new policy follows a decision made last February to ban specially arranged face-to-face interviews of all inmates. In addition, visiting and calling inmates has become more difficult under a recent change that allows inmates to change their visitors list of no more than 15 people only once every three months and their telephone list of 20 people once a month. (Dep’t of Corrections, No. GA-02.01(OP))