Prison Legal News continues its efforts to defend its First Amendment right to communicate with prisoners in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC). In 1999 the NDOC banned all copies of PLN, claiming the publication constituted “inmate correspondence.” PLN filed suit and was granted a preliminary injunction requiring delivery of PLN subscriptions and mail to Nevada prisoners. The state entered into a consent decree in September 2000, agreeing that prisoners “shall be permitted to subscribe to the publications of their choice,” subject only to specified security concerns.
However, ongoing censorship of PLN’s monthly magazine and books resulted in a June 2013 lawsuit in which PLN seeks to enjoin the unconstitutional censorship of its publications by prison officials. [See: PLN, Nov. 2013, p.18]. In conjunction with the lawsuit, PLN also filed a motion for an order to show cause in the prior suit, seeking to hold the NDOC in contempt for violating provisions of the 2000 consent decree by enacting and enforcing policies that continue to censor PLN’s monthly publication and book orders sent to Nevada prisoners. The federal district court later consolidated the two cases.
On June 17, 2014, the NDOC filed a motion to dismiss PLN’s suit, claiming a revised mail policy (AR 750) resolved any constitutional issues with the old mail policy. The court has not yet ruled on the motion; a jury trial in the case is scheduled for January 27, 2015. See: PLN v. Cox, U.S.D.C. (D. Nev.), Case No. 3:00-cv-00373-HDM-WGC.
PLN relies on information we receive from prisoners to assist us in our litigation, and we invite Nevada readers to contact us concerning censorship of mail and books at NDOC facilities. Specifically, whether prisoners receive notice when mail is withheld or censored, whether they have participated in an appeals process, and if they are receiving book orders without “pre-approval.” Nevada prisoners can contact us in these regards at: Prison Legal News, Attn: NV DOC Suit, P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460.
(Reprinted with Permission from Prison Legal News)