The Supreme Court said today that it will consider reinstating rules that keep newspapers and magazines out of the hands of disruptive Pennsylvania inmates, reports the Associated Press. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit sided with inmates who argued the ban on most reading material and personal photographs violated their free speech rights. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito dissented, arguing that the state had the right to withhold the material.
Alito said that prison officials could encourage good inmate behavior with the promise of newspapers to those who behave.The lawyer for the inmate who challenged the ban told justices that prisoners in the “segregation unit” are kept in their cells 23 hours a day and are rarely able to speak with each other. “In this closed environment, the impact of the challenged policy is stifling and far-reaching. It essentially blocks the flow of information to these men about current political, social and other public events occurring outside the prison walls,” Jere Krakoff of Pittsburgh wrote.