Resources for Non-News Media representatives
Project Submission Process
Requests for projects from production companies, documentary filmmakers, non-fiction authors, or other freelance writers must have prior approval from the Department of Corrections. We make every effort to respond to these requests quickly, but the process can be sped up significantly by reviewing following directions.
The project must be approved by both the Communications Director and the facility or community corrections administrator. The first step is to submit your request for access to facilities, staff or offenders in writing to the Communications Director at least two weeks prior to commencement of the project.
The Communications Director will consider the request and evaluate it for the overall benefit to the public and the Department.
Please include the following information in your request:
- A description of the project including which facilities, staff, offenders, activities, situations that you would like to include in the project
- A proposed project schedule and completion date for each element of the project
- A list of major financial contributors to the project
- An estimate of time needed to complete each element involving the Department
It’s also helpful if the Communications Director can review an example of similar projects produced by you or your company. The examples can include a demo reel, publication copy, recommendation letter or other documents that may help explain what your end result will look like.
The Communications Director will make a recommendation to the Superintendent or Community Corrections Administrator to approve or deny the request. If your project is recommended for approval the Superintendent or Community Corrections Administrator will determine if there are enough resources to dedicate to the project. Project proposals may be denied if the Superintendent or Community Corrections Administrator deems the project could interfere with the order and security of the facility and/or the safety and privacy of the staff or offender(s).
You will be contacted by the Communications Department to confirm the approval or denial of your request.
The Department may request compensation for costs associated with the project such as staff overtime, facility adjustments and increased staff presence. Location fees and compensation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I contact an offender?
A: Offenders may correspond with representatives of the media via U.S. mail and/or telephone. You must get the offender’s permission in writing prior to an interview being scheduled. The offender must also sign form DOC 05-806 prior to any interview, filming, taping, photographing or voice recording. It’s helpful to have the offender’s DOC number before attempting to contact him/her.
Q: Can I give the offender anything in exchange for the interview?
A: No. Offenders cannot accept compensation, or anything of value, for news or other media interviews.
Q: How do I obtain a mug shot of an offender?
A: You can contact Judi Feliciano in the Communications Department with the offender’s name and DOC number or date of birth. If a mug shot is available, we will e-mail you a jpeg version.
Q: My project request was denied. Can I make another request in the future?
A: Yes. Projects are sometimes denied based on the availability of staff or resources at the facility so they may be better suited for another time.
Q: How long does the approval process take?
A: It depends on several factors, particularly how much information we have about the project. The process typically takes a few weeks.
Q: Does DOC provide b-roll of its facilities?
A: Yes, if it is available. If we have the b-roll on hand we can provide it to you on DVD or Mini-DV format.
Q: In the past I worked directly with the prison where I want to film. What’s changed?
A: Our policy and organizational structure has changed regarding requests from media. We now have a more centralized process for approving these projects.
Q: How do I submit a request to the Communications Director?
A: You can either mail a request or send an e-mail to:
Acting Communications Director
Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 41101
Tumwater, WA 98501