SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A growing number of states is restricting the media's access to prison inmates, according to a nationwide survey.
Nine states now bar face-to-face interviews with inmates, up from six in 1998, the Society of Professional Journalists found.
Wyoming's law is so strict officials there can't release any inmate information -- including photos of outlaw Butch Cassidy from the time he spent in state prison, though he is thought to have died in a shootout in Bolivia in 1908.
Alabama, Arizona, California, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming won't arrange interviews with specific inmates, the society found.
Some will reconsider on a case-by-case basis, said society spokeswoman Sarah Shrode. And in most cases reporters can eventually be listed on cooperating inmates' visitation lists -- but that often takes months.
Policies vary. Arizona allows only phone interviews. Texas bans phone interviews, but allows face-to-face contact.
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