Prison Book Ban Policy is Challenged in Federal Court
Two civil rights organizations are suing Virginia prison officials because they banned inmates from receiving a book teaching them how to file lawsuits against prisons. Charles Fishburne reports.
The suit was filed in federal court in Charlottesville yesterday by the the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Fogel: There's no question that the prisons have the right to review this kind of, to review material in general to assure the orderly safe running of the institutions, security problems and so on.
Jeff Fogel, an Attorney for the National Lawyers Guild.
Fogel: Right, what's happened here is that they have exercised their power broadly and way over what I consider to be the line that the First Amendment creates, which does protect prisoners and people who wish to communicate with.
He says the Department’s Publication Review Committee has banned not only the “Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook,” but also copies of Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report and the Richmond Times Dispatch as being dangerous to the security of the prison system and the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Fogel: Something seems to be rotten in Denmark.
The Department of Corrections is not commenting on the lawsuit.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News