Media Policies and Guidelines for Offender Interviews
- Reporters wishing to intervew offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) should submit their request in writing, by fax to Jason Clark, Public Information Officer, at (936) 437-6055.
- All requests must be submitted on the news organization's letterhead, and should include the reporter's name, contact information including email address and the offender's name and other identifying information (date of birth, TDCJ number, etc.).
- Interviews with general population offenders may be scheduled any day Monday through Friday during regular business hours with the permission of the unit warden. These interview requests typically take 2 to 3 days to process, and MUST be submitted AT LEAST 24 hours prior to the requested day. Once approved, reporters will have one hour to interview an individual offender.
- Interviews with men on Texas Death Row are conducted on Wednesdays only, from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. Requests for these interviews should be submitted no later than noon on the prior Tuesday. Once approved, reporters will have 45 minutes to interview an individual offender.
- Interviews with women on Texas Death Row are conducted on Tuesdays only, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Requests for these interviews should be submitted no later than noon on the prior Monday. Once approved, reporters will have 45 minutes to interview an individual offender.
- All interviews will take place in the unit's regular visitation area. No other photos or video footage may be taken outside the unit unless specified by a Public Information Officer, or the unit warden. Exterior shots of the unit may be allowed with the warden's permission.
- Crews should be limited to no more than three (3) people. Each crewmember must have a valid driver's license, passport, or other official form of photo identification in order to enter a unit.
- Reporters are not allowed to take the following items with them into TDCJ units: cellular phones, pagers, laptops, cash, tobacco products, lighters, purses, briefcases, pocketknives, and similar items.
- TDCJ's dress code does not allow for shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless shirts, or see-through fabrics. We prefer that reporters not wear white. Dresses or skirts should be no shorter than three (3) inches above the middle of the knee.
- The following items are allowed by reporters: recording devices, wireless microphones, notepads, writing instruments, and camera equipment.
- Reporters are generally allowed to interview individual offenders once every 90 days. Exceptions may be made if there is a major status change in the offender's case (i.e., Death Row offender receives an execution date, etc.). A second interview may be approved at the discretion of the Public Information Officer.
- Attorneys, families, spiritual advisors, and other individuals on an offender's personal visitation list are not permitted to be present during media interviews, nor are reporters able to accompany any of these individuals on their personal visits.
- Media representatives may not be listed on an offender's visitation list if they wish to be recognized as media by the Public Information Office; any journalist who is featured on an offender's personal visitation list will not be allowed to visit that offender as a media representative.
Please note that failure to adhere to the agency's media policies and/or guidelines may result in removal from the unit or facility.
Questions about TDCJ's media policies may be directed to the Huntsville Public Information Office at (936) 437-6052.