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Ivana Hrynkiw, a reporter and managing producer with AL.com, took to Twitter to share news of her experience which took place when she attempted to watch the execution of death row inmate Joe Nathan James Jr at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility.
The reporter claimed she was told 'publicly' by a representative of the ADOC that she couldn't watch the execution take place because her 'skirt was too short', and noted she had worn the same skirt to previous executions 'without incident'.
She ended up changing her skirt for a pair of waterproof trousers borrowed from a photographer, but was then told her open toe heeled shoes were 'too revealing', forcing her to swap them for a pair of trainers she had in her car.
Hrynkiw described herself as being 'embarrassed to have [her] body and clothes questioned in front of a room of people', but she did her best to 'stop blushing' and carry on with her work.
Following the incident, the reporter requested that she be provided the dress code for the prison and was sent an online link by Alabama Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Kelly Betts.
The code stated 'all dresses, skirts, and pants shall extend below the knee (females only)', and said prohibited shoes included 'slippers, shower shoes, and beach shoes'.
Betts admitted reporters may not have been aware of the policy and said it had not been enforced before, but that the new warden of Holman, Terry Raybon, had wanted the policy to be enforced.
In a statement released after the incident, Betts commented: “The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has an administrative regulation regarding visitation to any ADOC facility. Within this regulation there is a dress code for all visitors including reporters covering executions. All administrative regulations are posted on the ADOC website.
“The wardens of each ADOC facility enforce this dress code based on each event and current safety conditions. It will be the policy of ADOC in the future to remind all members of the media about this dress code before any media event taking place at an ADOC facility."
Betts went on to issue and apology for 'any confusion or inconvenience this regulation may have caused', adding: "We hope by including it in future media advisories, we can avoid this kind of situation.”
As well as addressing the matter in a statement, Betts called Hrynkiw to personally apologise for the sudden enforcement of the policy.
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