Court: County inmates can get more than postcards

TACOMA — A federal court says the Lewis County Jail cannot restrict inmate mail to postcards.

Prison Legal News, a publication for prisoners, sued the county after jail officials refused to deliver its envelopes containing subscription information, court opinions and other documents to prisoners. The jail had cited a policy adopted in 2010 stating that inmates can only receive postcards or soft-cover magazines.

Lawyers for the county said postcards were easier to search for contraband than thick envelopes. But U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura said the policy was a significant burden on the free speech rights of prisoners and their outside correspondents alike.

Creatura issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday barring the county from restricting inmate mail to postcards only.

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