Prison Magazine Appeals Ban to 11th Circuit

(CN) – Prison Legal News asked the 11th Circuit to revive its challenge to a ban on its magazine from Florida jails and prisons.
Prison Legal News, a monthly publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, is written by and for prisoners. The muckraking 72-page magazine features articles about abuses inside prisons and jails, and has been banned from jails and prisons across the country. It has challenged the bans repeatedly in court, often successfully.
On Monday Prison Legal News filed an appeal at the 11th Circuit, asking the Atlanta-based court to review its claim that the Florida Department of Corrections violates the First Amendment by barring its distribution to state prison inmates.
It claims Florida’s stated reason for barring the magazine is its ads for pen-pal services, three-way calling and postage stamps: items Florida calls “objectionable” enough to ban the entire magazine though the ads make up less than 10 percent of its content.
Prison Legal News also is participating in lawsuits that challenge the expensive rates charged by private telephone companies through contracts with prisons.
The group says the Florida prisons’ “wildly exaggerated” response to its ads came three years after Prison Legal News thought the issue had been settled. It sued Florida after the state prisons began censoring the journal in 2003.

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