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OH Prisoners Seek Court Access

Ohio prisoners have filed a class action suit alleging that the Ohio DOC has promulgated conditions which prevent the exercise of prisoners right of access to the courts. The claims include depriving prisoners in segregation and protective custody of law library access and access to persons trained in the law. Not providing persons trained in the law to assist illiterate and functionally illiterate prisoners in general population and segregation to assist in the filing of legal papers in court; not providing pens, paper or carbon paper to prisoners too poor to afford them due to the high costs of hygiene supplies on the inmate store; not providing adequate supervision of prison law libraries to ensure that the prisoner law clerks are either literate or capable of assisting others in filing claims in court; not providing prisoners with hygiene supplies; not providing Ohio prisoners with sufficient work pay for them to purchase hygiene supplies such as toothpaste, soap, aspirin, etc., which leaves prisoners unable to afford legal supplies for litigation; overcharging prisoners for legal photocopies; refusing to make photocopies for prisoners unable to pay the extortionate rates; refusing to mail legal mail to the courts if the prisoner cannot afford to pay the postage and not allowing prisoners to photocopy the legal materials, affidavits, etc., of other prisoners that are needed for their own claims.

Other issues challenged in the suit are not providing notice of the prisons rules which subject prisoners to disciplinary charges. Not providing sufficient staffing to prevent violent assaults or respond to medical emergencies. The forced, involuntary racial integration of individual cells. Forcing prisoners to live in cell blocks with excessive noise dues to overcrowding.

The plaintiffs also allege that law library access is inadequate, the grievance system is biased against prisoners, and the good time system discriminates against prisoners serving determinate sentences as opposed to those serving indeterminate sentences.

The court has refused to appoint counsel to date and the case is being litigated by Ohio prisoner James Love. The plaintiff's urgently need counsel willing to assist in the case due to the complexity of the issues, the expenses involved, and the overall difficulty of litigating class action suits from within prisons. Anyone desiring more information or willing to help with counsel, contact: James Love #228732, P.O. Box 120-2B-164, Warren Correctional Institution, Lebanon, OH 45036-0120

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