CrimProf Blog

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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, February 3, 2005

Junk Mail Not Cruel and Unusual Punishment

From MSNBC.com:  "Some Americans might think of junk mail as cruel and unusual punishment, but a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that prison officials could not stop bulk mail and catalogs from reaching prisoners.  The case stems from a lawsuit against the Washington state Department of Corrections, which had barred its inmates from receiving such mailed materials. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling and rejected arguments that banning bulk mail made it easier to run a prison and reduced the risk of fire. 'Publishers have a First Amendment right to communicate with prisoners by mail, and inmates have a First Amendment right to receive this mail,' Arthur Alarcon wrote for the three-judge panel.  The 'ban on non-subscription bulk mail and catalogs is not rationally related to a legitimate penological interest and is therefore unconstitutional,' he added."  Story here.  Decision here.  [Mark Godsey]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2005/02/new_case_junk_m.html

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