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Settlement reached regarding the legal mail for those incarcerated in Kentucky prisons

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The way legal mail is handled for incarcerated people in Kentucky prisons is changing. The ACLU of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy have settled a lawsuit about how the Department of Corrections handles correspondence marked as “Legal Mail” for prisoners.

Corey Shapiro is the legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky. He said what the D-O-C was doing was problematic.

“They were opening the mail, photocopying the mail that was received from attorneys, then providing a photocopy of the mail to the people and then destroying that mail that had been coming from their lawyers.”

Shapiro said this caused a problem because items may not have been copied properly and did not allow the incarcerated person to see everything in the document.

He said they have agreed to a new system where attorneys will be issued codes.

“They will then get a secondary code for each individual piece of mail. They will then send the mail to their clients who are incarcerated. Provided the codes match up and verify the codes then we’ll open them in front of the individual, provide each individual with the mail.”

Shapiro said the policy was challenged under the First and Fourteenth Amendment various Kentucky laws regarding administrative procedure.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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