For the third consecutive year, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed legislation that would have made it easier for news reporters interview prison inmates, the Associated Press reports. Schwarzengger said the bill would glamorize murderers and distress crime victims and their families. “I do not believe violent criminals should be able to traumatize their victims a second time by having unfettered access to the media,” Schwarzenegger said. He agreed reporters should have more access to a prison system plagued with overcrowding, medical care problems, and high recidivism rates. He directed the corrections department to issue new regulations allowing greater media access to prisons but restricting access to specific violent criminals.
“We’re more than supportive of media coming into prisons, talking to inmates, walking the yards, talking to staff to make sure that the public and everyone else knows what’s going on in our prison system,” said Corrections Secretary James Tilton. More 3,000 inmates have been interviewed by local, national and international media in the last two years. Media organizations have criticized a regulation that requires a reporter to write to a prisoner to get an interview. Once admitted, reporters have been prohibited from bringing writing or recording equipment. Tilton said the new regulations would allow media to bring cameras or other recording devices needed to interview inmates.