The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties has expressed concern about the Sheriff's Department's new rule limiting incoming mail at jails to postcards only, a policy that CityBeat reported was in the works last October and is finally set to take effect this week.
As North County Times first reported, ACLU senior policy advocate Margaret Dooley-Sammuli says the policy may violate the First Amendment; ACLU lawyers have defeated postcard policies in other areas of the country, most recently in Oregon. CityBeat has also learned the policy applies to media correspondence, ending journalists' ability to send samples of articles and copies of their press credentials to inmates.
The sheriff says inmates can still receive messages through its "Email an Inmate" system. However, even that system may soon be limited. According to internal meeting minutes obtained under CPRA, the sheriff has been investigating how to start charging users for the email system since at least January.