Court: OK to deny newspapers to prisoners

June 28, 2006 at 5:19 PM

WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday ruled prison officials can withhold newspapers and other reading material from recalcitrant inmates to get them to behave.

The ruling came in a Pennsylvania case filed by Ronald Banks arguing his First Amendment rights had been violated when prison officials refused him access to newspapers, magazines and photographs.

"While imprisonment does not automatically deprive a prisoner of constitutional protections, ... the Constitution sometimes permits greater restriction of such rights in a person than it would allow elsewhere," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority in reversing a lower court decision.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas noted the practice of denying unruly inmates access to reading materials goes back to the start of the U.S. prison system.

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