Federal lawsuit: St. Lucie County Jail’s postcard-only mail policy is unconstitutional

A new federal lawsuit is challenging the mail policy for inmates at a county jail in South Florida.

According to the lawsuit, the jail’s policy requiring all incoming and outgoing mail to fit on a postcard-size letter is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed against St. Lucie County Sheriff Kenneth J. Mascara in the Southern District of Florida earlier this month.

“It’s pretty limiting of the first amendment,” said Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News, the publication behind the lawsuit. “It serves to isolate prisoners from their family members and themselves. You don’t have email, and phone calls are ridiculously expensive, so all you can communicate with is a postcard.”

Prison Legal News was started by Wright in the 1990s from his jail cell in Washington state. He was released in 2003 after serving 17 years for the killing of a man during a robbery.

Wright is also the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center.

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