Skip navigation

PLN settles censorship suit against Fulton County Jail

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jan. 1, 2010.
PLN settles censorship suit against Fulton County Jail - Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2010

Fulton jail to pay $150K in prison newspaper lawsuit

By Ty Tagami

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

8:53 p.m. Thursday, April 22, 2010

A non-profit publisher of a prison news publication announced Thursday that Fulton County agreed to pay nearly $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional censorship.

Prison Legal News sued in federal court in 2007 after then-Fulton Sheriff Myron Freeman banned distribution of nonreligious publications within the jail. The ban affected Prison Legal News, which was founded 20 years ago in Brattleboro, Vermont, and is dedicated to protecting human rights in prisons and jails.

Paul Wright, editor of the publication, noted in his lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta that such bans at the Fulton jail already were declared unconstitutional in a 2002 lawsuit against former Sheriff Jackie Barrett.

In 2008, the court issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited the jail from using the mail policy, but the litigation continued until this year.

The non-profit announced Thursday that Fulton agreed to settle the case by paying the organization $30,000 and by covering its legal costs, which came to nearly $120,000.