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PLN sues Kansas jail over no-publication policy

WIBW.com, Jan. 1, 2011. http://www.wibw.com/localnews/headlines/Shawnee...
PLN sues Kansas jail over no-publication policy - WIBW.com 2011

Posted: 9:16 PM Sep 2, 2011

Shawnee Co. Jail Faces Lawsuit Over Publication Policy

Prison Legal News claims a Shawnee County Dept. of Corrections policy which prohibits packages, newspapers, magazines, books and other personal property from being mailed to the facility violates the First Amendment.

TOPEKA, Kan. - A publication that reports on criminal justice-related issues have filed a lawsuit against the Shawnee County Jail, challening its policy on inmates receiving publications.

The Shawnee County Dept. of Corrections prohibits packages, newspapers, magazines, books and other personal property from being mailed to the facility.

Prison Legal News claims in a federal lawsuit that the policy violates the First Amendment. Their suit, filed this week, names Shawnee County, the Board of Commissioners and Richard Kline, Director of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.

PLN says the monthly publications and books it sent to jail inmates were censored by jail staff. According to PLN’s complaint, “since at least November 2010, Plaintiff has sent copies of the monthly publication Prison Legal News, subscription renewal letters, informational brochures and soft-cover books such as Protecting Your Health and Safety to a number of individuals confined in the Shawnee County Jail.” All of the reading material was censored pursuant to the facility’s mail policy.

PLN is seeking a declaration that the jail’s no-publication policy violates its rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They also want compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and costs.