State law provides that CDCR may on a case-by-case basis accommodate requests from filmmakers and documentary producers to film inside its correctional facilities. The law also states that such access is granted within available resources consistent with the safe and secure operations of CDCR facilities. However, this type of filming is considered discretionary filming and fiscal concerns necessitates the need to focus on CDCR’s core mission-critical functions and avoid incurring extra staffing costs.
The Office of Public and Employee Communications (OPEC) evaluates proposals to film in a CDCR adult institution, juvenile facility, community-based facility or parole unit on a case-by-case basis. This also includes scouts and visits. Written requests and proposals from filmmakers and production companies are evaluated to ascertain any impact on staffing, resources, safety, security and operations as well as compliance with California law, departmental policies and communications objectives.
OPEC maintains a library of stock CDCR video footage and still photographs and makes these available to the media upon request. There is current and archived footage and photographs of correctional facilities and programs, including restricted or limited access areas such as control booths, guard towers, the execution chamber, death row, and Administrative Segregation and Security Housing Units.
Public domain: The video footage and still images included on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's website are considered public documents, which are in the public domain. No signed licensed agreement is necessary for permissions. To request a higher resolution of stock video footage or still photographs, contact OPEC.