Policy Limiting Inmates' Free Speech Is Lifted
A seven year old policy barring inmates from talking to the media about their cases has been lifted by the Louisiana Department of Corrections after a challenge from the ACLU. ACLU Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton says the gag order was a gross violation of inmates civil rights.
Hamilton says, "The fact that the policy would allow prison officials to deny interview requests is a severe infringement of constitutional rights."
The suit was brought on behalf of Darold Hines, an Angola Inmate, who was denied the right to speak to LSU reporters who were investigating his case. Hamilton says just because they are prisoners, doesn’t mean they don’t have rights.
Hamilton says, "They do have the right to talk about the crimes that they've been imprisoned for, and the press has a first amendment right to talk to them as well."
Hamilton says the justice system isn’t perfect, which is why inmates need the right to tell their stories to the media.
Hamilton expresses, "We have wrongful convictions, and people need to be able to talk about the crimes they've been accused of committing."