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PLN files censorship suit against Kane County, Illinois

Kane County Chronicle, Jan. 7, 2016.

Prisoner magazine sues Kane County, jail

Suit claims inmates unable to get publication because magazine held by staples

Published: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 8:25 p.m. CST

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A prisoners rights organization is suing Kane County, the sheriff and several employees in federal court, alleging the jail violated inmates’ constitutional rights by censoring their right to receive its magazine.


The reason that editions of “Prison Legal News,” were returned to its headquarters in Lake Worth, Florida, was because the magazine is held together with staples, according to the lawsuit, which had been filed in October. 

Prisoners in Kane County jail cannot receive mail that has staples, according to the jail rules, “for safety and security concerns.”

“Defendants’ actions and inactions were and are motivated by ill motive and intent and were and are all committed under color of law with reckless indifference to PLN’s constitutional rights,” according to the lawsuit.

The magazine seeks to have it be sent to its subscribers in the Kane County jail and to be compensated financially for having to bring suit. Kane County has not yet filed a response to the suit. 

Both Kane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler and Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Lulves said their offices do not comment on pending litigation.

“Prison Legal News” is a project of The Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit agency. “Prison Legal News” is a 72-page softcover monthly journal that covers corrections news and analysis about prisoners’ rights, court rulings and other issues related to prisons and jails, according to the lawsuit.

It has thousands of subscribers, including those at 2,600 correctional facilities in all 50 states, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to the lawsuit.


In all, Kane County jail inmates were denied 98 copies of its publication over 19 months, from August 2012 to June 2015, but not all were returned to “Prison Legal News” as per policy, according to the lawsuit.

The publication did receive a few returned copies, citing the jail’s policy not to allow inmates to have materials with staples.

The suit also alleges that inmates were denied due process to appeal the denial of receiving their publication.