- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has imposed new restrictions on members of the media visiting prisons, two weeks after the agency announced a temporary ban on news cameras in corrections facilities.

The new policy posted this week to the agency’s website requires the department to grant specific authorization in advance for video or audio recording. According to the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/1fLYAgQ ) the policy is a departure from past practices, when reporters, photographers and videographers could bring equipment into the prison after going through security checks.

According to the corrections department, the new policy allows the agency to determine prior to granting interviews whether they have sufficient personnel on hand to physically search members of the media before they can enter a prison.

Earlier this month, the corrections department announced a temporary ban on cameras and video cameras for members of the media. Agency officials notified the Tulsa World at the time that requests to bring photographers inside prisons for two separate interviews were denied, that only a reporter would be allowed, with no recording equipment.

New Department of Corrections Executive Director Robert Patton has said the equipment ban would be temporary while he reviews and possibly revises department policies. He said earlier in the month that he was “slammed” with more than a dozen interview requests since taking office earlier this year, so he reviewed current policy on news cameras inside prisons and determined he’s “not comfortable” with it.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com