Arizona Department Of Corrections Ordered To Revise Explicit Material Policy For Inmates

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, November 11, 2019 - 7:41am
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019 - 8:51am

Arizona Department of Corrections building
Arizona Department of Corrections
Arizona Department of Corrections building in Phoenix.

Arizona prisons must revise their policy on what inmates can and cannot read.

In a new order, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver gave the Arizona Department of Corrections until mid-February to establish rules consistent with the prisoners' First Amendment rights.

In the lawsuit, attorney Lisa Ells explained, top officials are accused of purposely and illegally withholding copies of Prison Legal News under the same premise as withholding a sexually permissive men's magazine.

→ More Than 5,000 Publications Banned In Arizona Prisons

"Our publication is about news," Ells asserted. "It's not attempting to be sexy or appeal to prurient interest of people. It is attempting to impart news and politics and facts about the world we live in.''

The judge is limiting giving employees the discretion to decide what gets delivered. In her ruling, she wrote the rules should ensure there is "consistency" in what the prison system considers "sexually explicit material."

Agency spokesman Andrew Wilder said the Department of Corrections is reviewing the order and will respond as directed by the judge.

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