BLOUNTVILLE — A prisoners’ rights organization has filed a federal lawsuit against the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Wayne Anderson, claiming the department is censoring and refusing to deliver its publications and newsletter to inmates held at the Sullivan County Jail.
Prison Legal News (PLN) filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Oct. 10 naming Sullivan County, the sheriff’s office and Anderson as the defendants. PLN is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, a Florida-based nonprofit organization whose mission is public education, prisoner education, advocacy and outreach in support of prisoners’ rights.
Founded in 1990, PLN publishes and distributes a monthly journal of news and analysis and certain books about the criminal justice system and legal issues affecting prisoners. PLN has approximately 7,000 subscribers in the United States and overseas and distributes its publications to prisoners and law libraries in 2,200 correctional facilities across the country.
According to the lawsuit, PLN claims its publications and monthly newsletter are not being delivered to prisoners held at the Sullivan County Jail in violation of the 1st and 14th amendments. The defendants have also rejected book catalogs and offers, informational brochures, subscription forms and renewal letters and fundraising letters from PLN, according to the lawsuit.
PLN further claims the defendants have adopted and implemented unconstitutional written mail policies restricting correspondence to prisoners to postcards only.
Read more in Wednesday's print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.