On the Web site WriteAPrisoner.com, Paula Jones is looking for a pen pal, says the Associated Press. Her photo shows her in her blue Florida prison uniform. She won’t be out until at least 2010. Jones is breaking a Florida rule against inmates’ having the Match.com-style listings, saying prisoners create problems for their outside-the-pen pals.
Other states – Missouri, Montana, Indiana and Pennsylvania – have similar restrictions. Lawsuits contend that the bans are unfair and violate First Amendment rights. “The public knows when they’re writing to these people that they’re prisoners,” said Randall Berg Jr., a lawyer for two pen pal groups – including Florida-based WriteAPrisoner.com – that have sued in the state. “Nobody is being duped here.” WriteAPrisoner.com owner Adam Lovell says the bulk of the people who use his site to write to inmates are from religious groups, military people stationed overseas and others affected by the prison. .