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PLN files censorship suit against WI county jail

Journal Sentinel, Jan. 1, 2013.
PLN files censorship suit against WI county jail - Journal Sentinel 2013

Lawsuit: Kenosha sheriff censoring Prison Legal News

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel

June 28, 2013

A monthly magazine called Prison Legal News has sued Kenosha County, claiming that the county jail's policy of preventing distribution of mailed publications is unconstitutional.

The suit, filed in Milwaukee federal court, says that since February 2012, Prison Legal News has mailed items to at least 29 named inmates at the jail. All have been rejected pursuant to a jail policy that bars delivery of all books and magazines that enter via the U.S. mail.

Prison Legal News' publications contain "corrections news and analysis about prisoner rights, court rulings, management of prison facilities, prison conditions, and other matters pertaining to the rights and/or interests of incarcerated individuals," according to the lawsuit.

"There is no legitimate purpose – penological or otherwise – in refusing inmates access to these publications," the suit claims, and adds that no notice was given to allow PLN to challenge the ban.

The suit seeks an injunction barring enforcement of the ban on delivery of books and magazines, a declaration that the current practice is unconstitutional and unspecified damages.

Prison Legal News is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit based in Washington state.

A spokesman for the Kenosha Sheriff's Department did not immediately return a message seeking comment.



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