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PLN sues Cache County, Utah jail over publication ban

Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 20, 2004.
PLN sues Cache County, Utah jail over publication ban - Salt Lake Tribune 2004

Article Last Updated: 12/20/2004 01:11 AM

Are inmates deprived of periodicals?

The Associated Press

Salt Lake Tribune

LOGAN - A magazine company has filed a complaint in federal court alleging that the Cache County Jail violates inmates' rights by prohibiting them from receiving personal newspaper and magazine subscriptions, including its own.

The Seattle-based Prisoner Legal News filed a complaint Wednesday in U.S. District Court alleging that the jail has rejected copies mailed to subscribing inmates.

"One of the few rights the inmate retains is First Amendment rights," said Brian Barnard, an attorney representing the magazine.

Cache County Jail Commander Capt. Kim Cheshire said the policy was intended to prevent newsprint, which Prisoner Legal News is printed on, from being made into weapons and to avoid logistical headaches.

"I have 300 inmates. If they all took their own subscriptions, can you imagine how much that would all pile up in the cells?" Cheshire said.

The jail receives a number of magazines and newspapers that inmates are allowed to check out from a library.

The Utah State Prison allows inmates to have individual magazine subscriptions.

Barnard conceded that all inmates, like those who cause trouble or are in maximum security, shouldn't be allowed to receive magazines, but said the jail's overall ban was unfair.

"If instead it's based upon the inmates' classification, then that's upheld and that's reasonable," he said.

Prisoner Legal News is a prisoner rights publication that reviews and analyzes court rulings and prison issues. A one-year subscription is $18 for prisoners and $25 for non-incarcerated readers, according to its Web site.