Statement on the Revision of Department Order 207

July 17, 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, REHABILITATION & REENTRY

(PHOENIX) - The Department is committed to transparency and accountability.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly altered operations in many areas to ensure we can continue to prioritize the health and safety of all staff, inmates and employees. As you know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department has suspended all personal and legal visitation. In order to continue to provide inmates with ongoing access to their attorneys, ADCRR security staff has had to facilitate even more legal calls between inmates and their attorneys. The revision to inmate communications was intended in good faith to relieve ADCRR correctional officers from the role of having to facilitate and monitor media telephone interviews of inmates and allow them to focus on their core safety responsibilities.  

That being said, the revision of DO 207 left unchanged the numerous lines of communication that have always been available between media and inmates.  First, media may exchange an unlimited number of letters with inmates. Second, for inmates with a tablet, media may exchange an unlimited number of emails with those inmates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Third, upon the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, media may personally interview inmates at the prison and may personally be added to an inmate’s approved visitor list. Fourth, if the media seeks a telephone interview with an inmate, media may reach out to the inmate or the inmate’s family to arrange to be added to the inmate’s approved caller list, and, through the inmate and family, rather than through an ADCRR correctional officer, the inmate may call the media representative. Each of these four options remain unchanged.

Further, any limitation on employee communication with the media is only in place if the employee is speaking on behalf of ADCRR. Any communication on behalf of the agency is managed by our communications director. When not acting in their official capacity as an ADCRR employee, they are free to engage with the media.

The revised department order, which is regularly reviewed, was additionally revised to meet the industry standard as set forth by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Please find the Department Order #207 in its entirety here:
https://corrections.az.gov/sites/default/files/policies/200/0207_070920.pdf

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