Monday, June 07, 2010

Prison Legal News settles lawsuit with CCA

The complaint and settlement are here:

Many thanks to Dan Pachoda of the AZ ACLU and the San Francisco law firm of
Rosen, Bien and Galvan for their excellent representation of Prison Legal


Prison Legal News - For Immediate Release

June 7, 2010

Corrections Corp. of America Pays Damages, Attorney Fees to Settle
Censorship Lawsuit

Eloy, AZ - Prison Legal News, a non-profit monthly publication that reports
on criminal justice-related issues, announced today that it had settled a
censorship suit against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), the nation's
largest for-profit private prison company.

Prison Legal News (PLN) filed the lawsuit in September 2009, claiming that
CCA's Saguaro Correctional Center only allowed prisoners to order books from
Amazon or Barnes & Nobles under the facility's mail policy in effect at the

PLN argued that its inability to send books to prisoners at the CCA prison
violated its rights under both the First Amendment and the Arizona
Constitution. PLN sells over 40 book titles, including self-help books,
dictionaries, educational books and books on legal topics. Examples include
Everyday Letters for Busy People, Finding the Right Lawyer, and Starting
Out! The Complete Re-Entry Handbook.

CCA staff claimed books sent to prisoners by PLN constituted "a serious
danger to the security of the facility," and said PLN was an "unapproved
vendor." CCA also failed to notify PLN that its books were being censored,
and prohibited prisoners' family members from purchasing books and
publications on their behalf.

CCA changed its mail policy at Saguaro soon after PLN filed suit and agreed
to settle the case in May 2010. As part of the settlement, PLN will not be
placed on a prohibited vendor list, nor will PLN be subject to a blanket ban
by CCA staff. Further, prisoners at Saguaro will be permitted to receive
books and publications ordered by their family members or other third
parties, CCA must post notices of the settlement at the Saguaro facility in
areas where prisoners can read them, and CCA has to notify PLN of future

The settlement will be enforceable by the U.S. District Court for a period
of 18 months ending on December 5, 2011. CCA also agreed to pay a lump sum
to PLN in damages, attorney's fees and costs. The amount of the payment
cannot be included in this press release pursuant to the terms of the
settlement agreement, but the amount paid by CCA to settle this case is

by contacting PLN's representatives or attorneys, listed below.

"It is always unfortunate when corrections officials ignore the First
Amendment by prohibiting publishers from sending books to prisoners," stated
PLN editor Paul Wright. "This settlement will ensure that CCA employees
respect our rights, and that prisoners and their family members can order
books from PLN and other publishers. As the nation's largest private prison
company, CCA should have known better than to censor our books and violate
our rights."

"The fundamental right to send and receive written material is basic for an
informed society," added Dan Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona.
"[Prison] administrators too often act as if prisoners check their
constitutional protections at the prison door, and the ACLU was pleased to
assist PLN in challenging that view in this case."

The case is Prison Legal News v. Corrections Corp. of America, U.S. District
Court for the District of Arizona, Case No. 2:09-cv-01831-PHX-ROS. PLN was
ably represented by attorneys Ernest Galvan, Sandy Rosen and Blake Thompson
with the San Francisco law firm of Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP, and Daniel
Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona.


Prison Legal News (PLN), founded in 1990 and based in Brattleboro, Vermont,
is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S.
detention facilities. PLN publishes a monthly magazine that includes
reports, reviews and analysis of court rulings and news related

to prisoners' rights and criminal justice issues. PLN has almost 7,000
subscribers nationwide and operates a website ( that
includes a comprehensive database of prison and jail-related articles, news
reports, court rulings, verdicts, settlements and related documents. PLN is
a project of the Human Rights Defense Center.

For further information, please contact:

Paul Wright, Editor
Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 2420
Brattleboro, VT 05303
(802) 257-1342

Ernest Galvan, Atty.
Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP
315 Montgomery Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 433-6830
(415) 433-7104 fax

Lindsay Nordstrom

ACLU of Arizona

P.O. Box 17148
Phoenix, AZ 85011
(602) 773-6005

Paul Wright, Editor

Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 2420
West Brattleboro, VT 05303
Phone: 802 579-1309
Fax: 866 735-7136

Effective March 5, 2010 our Seattle office is closed. All mail and calls
should go to the above address.

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