Ore. judge: Limiting inmate mail unconstitutional

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon federal judge has ruled the practice of limiting inmates' mail to only postcards is unconstitutional.

The ruling from U.S. District Court judge Michael Simon throws into question the constitutionality of the practice in other states.

Simon said in a ruling made public Thursday that limiting inmates' mail to postcards violates the First Amendment rights of inmates, the people who write to them, and the plaintiff in the case. The plaintiff is Prison Legal News, a national monthly law journal published by the Human Defense Rights Center.

The ruling is the first legal precedent opponents can use in their opposition to a policy that stretches from Florida to Arizona.

For two years, the Columbia County Jail in St. Helens, Ore., restricted inmates' personal mail to the sending and receiving of postcards until Simon issued an injunction that stopped the practice in May 2012.

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