Prison Legal News, a prisoner-rights group that publishes materials for inmates, has sued in federal court, contending that a California county and sheriff violated the First Amendment by censoring PLN's publications.
PLN publishes a monthly journal, Prison Legal News, which features commentary on court rulings, prison issues and other criminal-justice matters. The group alleges that since April 2010, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott R. Jones and other jail officials have refused to deliver its journal and related materials at Sacramento County Main Jail and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.
Its complaint in Prison Legal News v. County of Sacramento, filed April 5, alleges that the defendants' conduct “violates the First Amendment by censoring these expressive activities and has a chilling effect on future speech and expression directed at prisoners confined there.”
According to the complaint, mailed copies of the journal came back to PLN with a "return to sender" stamp that said "no staples."
“They claim it is because we have staples, but we have had staples since we started publishing in 1990 and they didn’t start censoring us until last year,” said Prison Legal News Editor Paul Wright.
Efforts to reach jail officials for comment were unsuccessful until April 11, ...