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PLN in the news

Federal judge says Sacramento County inmates can get magazine

By Denny Walsh

Published: Friday, Mar. 9, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department to quit interfering with delivery to jail inmates of a legal publication designed specifically for prisoners.

U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez decreed that Sacramento County and Sheriff Scott Jones and his employees "shall not refuse to deliver" Prison Legal News in the Main Jail and Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

Lawyers for the county argue in court papers that magazine staples and mailing labels are contraband because staples are used by inmates to fashion weapons and drugs like heroin or LSD are smuggled into jails on the adhesive backs of labels. "Inmates ingest the drugs by licking or eating the paper," they say.

But lawyers for the magazine insist in court papers they have presented unrefuted evidence that "staples of the type PLN uses to assemble its publication are ill-suited for sharpening or use as blades or points. Prison Legal News is distributed to prisoners in 2,200 correctional facilities across the United States, the vast majority of which distribute it with its staples intact, with no reported security incidents."

The labels "do not pose the smuggling hazard of larger commercial labels," the magazine's lawyers argue. Further, they maintain, the county presented "no evidence that a prisoner has ever successfully colluded with a publisher to smuggle drugs under the address labels used by publishers such as PLN." ...

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