ACLU: St. Genevieve Sheriff Cut Off Newspapers to Inmates After One Penned Letter to Editor

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The SafeBoat obtained by St. Genevieve County in October
In fact, according to Schell's attorney, Grant Doty, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, the inmate was so stoked that he asked jail personnel to make photocopies he could send to his family.

"I wouldn't say the letter was critical of the sheriff," Doty says. "Maybe the clergy in the town got upset. I have no idea."

What's very clear is that, the next week, Schell did not receive his newspaper.

(We've got a call in right now to the St. Genevieve County Sheriff's office for comment; if/when they call us back, we'll update this post).

Schell inquired to a sergeant what the problem was. As reported in the federal suit, the sergeant responded
I spoke to 8502 reference this issue. The Sheriff has determined no local papers are
allowed due to the fact that they publish local arrestees & their charges. This poses a security risk to inmates & our facility & are therefore no longer allowed.
Doty tells me he's never heard a correction facility use that line of reasoning for cutting off newspaper delivery before. He adds that visitors or other inmates can also bring in local crime info, rendering a newspaper ban ineffective.

"I don't know how they can keep these guys in a shell," Doty says. "It's a shame they want to cut off these prisoners more than they're already cut off."

The suit accuses the sheriff and the County of St. Genevieve of violating Schell's First Amendment and due process rights. We've post the complaint online here.

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