HomeSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina Department of Corrections challenges ACLU lawsuit over inmate communications

South Carolina Department of Corrections challenges ACLU lawsuit over inmate communications

South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Corrections has petitioned a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). According to the lawsuit, the Department’s policies on inmate communications violate the First Amendment rights. But the South Carolina Department of Corrections argues that the ACLU’s claims are not legitimate and that the group doesn’t have the right to sue.

The lawsuit focuses on the Department of Corrections’ strict regulations about prisoners’ access to the media and the public. Chrysti Shain, South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson, has explained that inmates are allowed to get in touch with the outside world and journalists through written communications. However, the department doesn’t allow inmates to communicate with journalists via telephone because, according to the department, it’s considered a “personal contact” and any recording of such interactions is strictly prohibited.

The Department says that its rules are the same as those of most jail facilities in the country. In most corrections facilities, current rules in place don’t let journalists or the public visit prisoners. These restrictions, the Department argues, are important part of maintaining security within the institutions. The Department also has concerns that in-person interviews with the media could be an opportunity for prisoners to spread false information or make threats, which could cause disturbance in the jail or even put the public at risk.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections also raised concerns that interviews with the media could accidentally reveal private information about how certain facility works, the identities of informants, or the identities of jail staff. There’s also a risk that gang-affiliated prisoners could use these contacts to talk to or send messages to gang members outside of prison.

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The ACLU, on the other hand, has a different view. The group says that the Department’s policy makes it very hard for the public to learn about important things like jail conditions, how LGBTQ and other vulnerable inmates are treated, and arguments about the death penalty. The ACLU says these rules not only make things less clear, but they also keep people from fully understanding and taking part in solving important societal issues.

The court battle started in February, when the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Department’s rules governing communication.

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