Prisoner rights to freedom of the press
Access to legal information is the most fundamental tool that prisoners have to protect their rights. It is critical for inmates to be informed of their rights so that they can advocate on their own behalf when their rights are being denied. In this case, the ACLU of Minnesota avoided litigation when it convinced the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MN-DOC) to amend its rules and allow inmates in segregation to have access to legal publications.
The ACLU of Minnesota and the ACLU National Prison Project had planned to file a lawsuit on behalf of the legal publication Prison Legal News, which would have been censored under the new rule. The DOC capitulated to a demand letter that was sent to them one week before filing the lawsuit. They adopted a new policy that will now allow inmates in segregation to receive legal publications. Minnesotans value constitutional rights and we applaud the Department of Corrections’ move.