What protections do I have if I report a problem at a correctional facility? 4 Answers as of May 18, 2011

I called the public information officer at a california correctional facility to give them a report of a violation I knew about (I am not an inmate but I know someone who is). I asked the officer I spoke with if the call was being recorded and he said no. I am worried that he wasn't being truthful and that they did record me. Can they record me without my permission? I am worried that they will play it to the inmate, who is dangerous. What legal course of action can I have if they play him the tape? How do I receive protection from the state if they play it to him? I am afraid for my life.

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The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
There really is not enough information. However, given your concerns, I would not post anything more specific on an open access type web site. Your post seems to indicate that you informed someone connected with the prison system amount inappropriate activity by a prisoner. I strongly doubt that your conversation will be relayed to the prisoner, at least not immediately. That may occur in the future if there is an intent to prosecute. Your personal information [address and telephone number] cannot be given to the defendant. You should probably consult with a criminal defense attorney about the events [who the prisoner is, how you came to know the events you related to the prison, etc.]. That way your confidences are protected, you should be able to get considerably more intelligent advice about your situation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
There is no way of protecting yourself after the fact. It may or may not have been recorded. It may or may not be disclosed to the inmate accidentally or on purpose. Corrections should treat it as confidential. That doesnt mean the inmate wont be able to figure out who snitched on him if he is punished. You can ask for Witness Protection from the DA, and try to work out something to help you. You may hire an attorney to help you. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
That's a hard question. I am not aware of any law that permits taping a telephone conversation unless it is done as part of a criminal investigation by police or at their direction. Jails can tape conversations but I think there is a recording warning you that they are doing so. I think they can also tape conversations with visitors as there is no expectation of privacy and for institutional safety. I know of no exception for the situation here. People at the prison law office are experts on prison law and sell an all you need to know book that you may want to obtain. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
In California someone, even law enforcement cannot record a telephone conversation without informing the other party. If you were acting as a confidential informant the police would not give your information over to the inmate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
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