pcloudy.png
Monday May 20th, 2019 2:57PM

ACLU says Georgia sheriff illegally banning books from jail

By The Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that a Georgia sheriff is violating the rights of jail inmates by prohibiting them from receiving outside books and magazines.

The ACLU sent a letter to Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher urging him to rescind a new policy that says inmates at the county jail in Savannah can no longer receive books or magazines by mail or from visitors. The policy restricts inmates to selecting reading materials from book carts managed by jail staff.

"We have never before encountered a policy that so completely restricts detained persons' access to books and publications," said the letter signed by David Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project, and attorneys from the ACLU of Georgia.

The letter dated Wednesday noted the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment grants inmates not only freedom of speech but also the "freedom to read."

The ACLU's letter asked the sheriff for a response by April 30. Attached were copies of the book policy and a notice alerting inmates that the changes were taking effect March 3.

"I think I'm well within the scope of the law," Wilcher said in a phone interview. "If I'm not, then I'll change my policy."

The sheriff said inmates are able to choose books and magazines divided among eight carts, one for each of the jail's housing wings. Inmates also have access to copies of the Bible, the Quran and other religious texts through the jail's chaplains, he said.

The sheriff declined to discuss the book policy further, saying he's still awaiting legal advice from county attorneys.

R. Jonathan Hart, the county attorney, did not immediately return a phone message.

The Chatham County jail housed an average of 1,630 inmates per day in 2016, according to a report on jail operations on the sheriff's website.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Principal who went into coma after bone marrow donation dies
A New Jersey high school principal who went into a coma after he donated bone marrow to a 14-year-old stranger in France has died
5:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
May asks EU for Brexit delay, but Macron says no guarantee
European Union leaders are wrangling over whether to save Britain from a precipitous and potentially calamitous Brexit, or to give the foot-dragging departing nation a shove over the edge
5:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Science fact: Astronomers reveal first image of a black hole
Humanity has gotten its first glimpse of a black hole, and it looks like a flaming doughnut
4:59PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Atlanta officer charged in wreck that led driver to lose arm
An Atlanta police officer has been indicted on charges including reckless driving in a wreck that caused another driver to lose an arm
8:57AM ( 3 months ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Principal who went into coma after bone marrow donation dies
A New Jersey high school principal who went into a coma after he donated bone marrow to a 14-year-old stranger in France has died
5:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
May asks EU for Brexit delay, but Macron says no guarantee
European Union leaders are wrangling over whether to save Britain from a precipitous and potentially calamitous Brexit, or to give the foot-dragging departing nation a shove over the edge
5:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Science fact: Astronomers reveal first image of a black hole
Humanity has gotten its first glimpse of a black hole, and it looks like a flaming doughnut
4:59PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: France unconvinced by May's Brexit delay pitch
France is still playing hardball in the European Union's negotiations over whether to grant British Prime Minister Theresa May another Brexit extension
4:57PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Most Fed officials see rates staying on hold for all of 2019
Majority of Fed officials believe Fed could keep rates unchanged for all of 2019
4:56PM ( 23 minutes ago )