Prisoners Win Right to Work as Reporters

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inmates in federal penitentiaries will now be able to publish articles with bylines in magazines and newspapers, following a court-ordered change in Federal Bureau of Prisons’ regulations.

Three years ago, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the bureau’s policy of disallowing prisoners from being published. Federal prison officials insisted the ban was for the good of inmates, who might endure retaliation from other prisoners for the stories. But an appellate judge ruled the restriction limited inmates’ free speech.
The Bureau of Prisons did not officially change its regulations affecting prisoners and publishing until just recently.
The legal case was brought by Mark Jordan, who was punished by prison officials for publishing articles in “Off!” magazine in 2001. Jordan was originally imprisoned for a bank robbery committed in 1994, when he was 18 years old. In 1999, he was convicted of stabbing a prisoner to death.
Jordan was aided in his freedom of speech legal appeals by a team of law students from the University of Denver.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Inmate Wins Right to Write from Prison (by Travis Sanford, Courthouse New Service)
Jordan v. Pugh (Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse)
DU Student Law Team vs. the United States (by Bruce Finley, Denver Post)


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