Nevada's prison typewriter ban upheld

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said Thursday the U.S. District Court has ruled the Department of Corrections can ban possession of typewriters by inmates.

The typewriters were banned at the maximum security Ely State Prison in March 2007 after two different inmates made weapons from their metal parts. In one incident, an inmates was killed with the homemade weapon. In the other, an officer was threatened but unhurt.

Director Howard Skolnik has since extended the ban to all institutions.

Inmates and their supporters sued arguing the typewriters are necessary to prepare legal appeals and taking them violates their constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ruled this week that declaring the typewriters unauthorized property does not violate inmate due process or First Amendment rights.

"The ban on typewriters occurred because prison officials determined that possession of typewriters aid the ability of inmates to breach safety and security," Hicks wrote in his order. "It cannot be disputed that the state has a legitimate interest in maintaining security and order in its prisons."


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