Constitutional Law

Legal Aid Groups Sue Prison Officials Over Ban on 'Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook'


A free handbook prepared by legal aid groups explaining to inmates how they can assert their constitutional rights in federal court is a threat to prison security, officials in Virginia decided. So they banned it.

Now the publishers of the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook (PDF) are fighting back.

They have filed their own constitutional claim against officials at the Virginia Department of Corrections, contending that the handbook ban violates freedom of speech and due process rights, according to Associated Press and the Daily Progress.

Both the DOC and the state attorney general’s office declined requests for comment, citing a policy against discussing pending litigation, the Virginia newspaper says.

The suit was filed in federal court in Charlottesville on Wednesday by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild.

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