Minnesota SPJ Outraged Over Banning of Cameras From Prisons

The Minnesota Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is outraged over the Minnesota Department of Corrections policy to ban on-camera interviews and still photography from consenting inmates. As the old saying goes, “Seeing is believing.” And that is especially true when it comes to life behind bars for the nearly 10,000 human beings incarcerated in Minnesota.

Read James Eli Shiffer’s description of the policy in the Star Tribune.

The Minnesota DOC is now equating both still and video news cameras with contraband items such as pornography and lighters, which is patently absurd. Other DOC concerns could be dealt with through policies other than a full ban on cameras. We urge the Minnesota DOC to immediately reverse its camera ban.

For more information about the Minnesota Pro chapter’s stance, contact board member Ben Garvin at 612-910-1499, or  bgarvin@kare11.com

UPDATE: On Tuesday, MNSPJ noted that Gov. Mark Dayton called on the DOC to explain its position, but moved to support their decision. We are concerned that Gov. Dayton would support a policy that treats news cameras like contraband and urge all government leaders to reverse this policy.