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GEO Group agrees to allow PLN at Indiana facility pending resolution of lawsuit

WFYI Indianapolis, Jan. 23, 2015. http://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/prisoners-rig...
JANUARY 23, 2015

Prisoners' Rights Magazine and Prison Operator Reach Interim Agreement

CHRISTOPHER AYERS

A prisoners’ rights magazine banned by a Central Indiana correctional facility will now be allowed inside. That’s after the two parties came to an interim agreement allowing its distribution.

The order issued Thursday by an Indianapolis federal court says GEO Group, New Castle Correctional Facility’s private operator, has agreed to distribute Prison Legal News a Florida-based publication that reports on prisoners’ issues.

The magazine’s publisher sued GEO Group late last year after discovering New Castle staff failed to deliver the magazine to several subscribers housed at the facility. GEO claims advertisements for pen-pal services published in PLN violate the Indiana Department of Correction’s Manual of Policies and Procedures.

The agreement prohibits the prison from withholding the magazine because of the advertisements, says PLN Managing Editor Alex Friedmann.

“It’s an indication that the facility and GEO Group recognizes there’s a problem with censoring our materials and violating our First Amendment rights, and that they are agreeable to taking action to prevent that from happening in the future,” Friedmann says.

Friedmann says the federal suit against GEO will continue until a settlement or verdict is reached. PLN claims the company violated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in denying its subscribers access.

Calls to the New Castle Correctional Facility were not returned Friday afternoon.