In a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn, INBA President Jennifer Fuller called for him to reverse his decision to bar reporters from Illinois' prisons. See the letter below:
Hon. Gov. Pat Quinn
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
August 13, 2012
The Illinois News Broadcasters Association wishes to voice its extreme displeasure with your decision to bar journalists from prisons in this state. As you are well aware, Illinois prisons are under a microscope at this time as inmates, correctional officers, your administration, and outside organizations are offering varying accounts of conditions within these facilities. When the prospect of prison closures is added to the mix, the scrutiny is only that much more intense.
The public has a right to know what is going on inside these taxpayer-funded facilities. You have, in the past, been a supporter of open government and freedom of information. The decision to shut reporters out of the prison system contradicts that support. We urge you to reconsider your decision, and allow the public’s eyes and ears to enter these prisons and facilities, to share the truth with Illinoisans and the rest of the world.
By barring us from even one aspect of Illinois government, people are left to ask themselves what is being hidden. The only way for the truth to be told is to allow members of the media into these prisons, so that they may tell the stories of those who are living, working, and providing for the properties each and every day.
Please consider a reversal of this latest closed-door policy. Openness in government is one of the keys to a successful democracy, and the INBA stands behind transparent and open government.