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Inmates challenge Hustler, Playboy ban

From Jennifer Styles
CNN

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Indiana
Justice and Rights
Civil Rights
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

(CNN) -- Two inmates are suing Indiana because of a policy that bans graphic magazines, such as Playboy, Penthouse or Hustler.

The state Department of Corrections put a policy in place July 1 that bans sexually explicit letters and general-circulation publications. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, is on behalf of more than 20,000 state prisoners.

The policy is so broad that it bans personal letters between prisoners and loved ones, and much of the world's great art and literature, the inmates claim.

The policy states that It is intended to ensure the safety and security of the offenders and the facilities as they maintain contact with people in the community through correspondence, printed material and packages.

"The ban is for graphic description, rather than word description," Department of Corrections attorney Bob Bugher said.

Ernest Tope, 53, is serving a life sentence in Pendleton for murder, and Wade Meisberger, 34, is serving time in Miami for murder and auto theft.

"They are challenging the new policy through the prison grievance system, but they have not been successful," said Ken Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Indiana.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Java Ahmed said that the agency has not received a copy of the lawsuit.

"We don't have any current plans to make any changes," Ahmed said. "If throughout the process the court says it's constitutionally inappropriate, we would do so, but we don't think it's unconstitutional."

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