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RCFP urges Bureau of Prisons to reverse ban on prison newsletter

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  1. Content Restrictions

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is urging the Federal Bureau of Prisons to reverse an Arizona prison’s unconstitutional decision to ban the publication of a recent issue of The Militant, a weekly socialist newsletter.

Prison officials at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix rejected Volume 86, Issue 23 of The Militant on July 24, 2022, claiming that it “contains political extremism and is detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution.”

In a letter sent to the western regional director of the Bureau of Prisons on Aug. 15, 2022, Reporters Committee attorneys argued that the prison’s rejection of the newsletter amounts to viewpoint-based censorship that infringes on the First Amendment rights of The Militant’s publisher and its subscribers.

The letter also disputes prison officials’ claim that the newsletter’s content could cause security concerns, noting that the issue explores the connection between economic turmoil and violent crime, opposes the Russian invasion of Ukraine, decries anti-Semitism, and reports on labor organizing.

Reporters Committee attorneys have previously filed letters in support of The Militant, including in 2020 and 2019.