Lawsuit filed against Henderson Co. Detention Center, alleges censorship claims

Lawsuit filed against Henderson Co. Detention Center, alleges censorship claims
Updated: Sep. 27, 2020 at 12:08 AM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - A human rights organization recently filed a lawsuit against the Henderson County Detention Center, alleging censorship of the books and magazines that jail officials publish and distribute to inmates.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants “adopted and implemented mail policies and practices that unconstitutionally prohibit delivery of books, magazines, and other correspondence mailed by HRDC to persons incarcerated at the Jail, and that deny due process of law to senders, like HRDC, whose mail is censored by failing to provide adequate notice and opportunity to challenge each instance of censorship.”

The lawsuit distinctly names Henderson County Jailer Amy Brady, Judge-Executive Brad Schneider, HRDC Mail Clerk Lironda Hunt, as well as 10 other unnamed individuals.

Click here to read the court documents associated with the case.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Owensboro on Sept. 21.

14 News reached out to the legal team representing the Henderson County Detention Center and the others named in the lawsuit. They released the following statement:

Henderson County Detention Center denies all allegations in the lawsuit filed by Human Rights Defense Council (“HRDC”). The Detention Center does not refuse delivery of magazines and other published material to inmates as a matter of course. Rather, each such mailing is carefully examined to ensure that the safety and security of the inmates and staff are not compromised.

Although HRDC mailed unsolicited booklets to several inmates in the Detention Center earlier this year, those booklets were returned to HRDC because they contained staples. Staples are not allowed in the inmate cells for several reasons, including the fact that they can be used as weapons and/or as “needles” in homemade tattoo devices. Consequently, those publications were returned to HRDC with the notation “Return to Sender Per Mail Policy”.

On another occasion HRDC mailed a different type of unsolicited publication to an inmate in the facility. That publication did not contain staples. However, when the package was delivered to the inmate, he refused acceptance, stating that he did not request the information. That package was returned to HRDC as “Return to Sender: Refused”. HRDC’s constitutional rights have not been violated and we are confident that the lawsuit will be dismissed.

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