From Courthouse News Service:

“It’s not just a First Amendment case about encroaching on our constitutional liberties, but also it can be a case about re-entry and ensuring [that] when individuals are released … they are prepared with literacy [and] education … to be a part of society,” Nila Bala, associate director of criminal-justice policy at R Street, said in a phone interview. “So when individuals have access to a publication like PLN, which reports on prison abuse among other things, that kind of information can be vital and they may not have access to it other ways.”

Bala noted that Florida is unique in finding it necessary to achieve its security interests with a blanket ban on Prison Legal News. “They think this is the only way to stop this, but no other facility has found a blanket ban to be necessary,” Bala said.

The Cato Group, the Rutherford Institute, the American Society of News Editors, The Authors Guild Inc., National Coalition Against Censorship, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and the Prison Book Program are several of the groups represented in the amicus briefs.

Former prison guards, religious groups and law professors have chimed in in support of Prison Legal News as well.

Bala added in a follow-up email that this case is bipartisan because having prisoners who are educated and literate helps the country.

“This is a bipartisan issue because having prisoners who are educated and have access to reading materials is beneficial to us all,” Bala wrote. “Allowing publications like PLN behind bars improves literacy and learning, which directly leads to better outcomes for prisoners when they reenter society.”

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