In late December 2014, ACLU-TN was contacted by the father of a Haywood County jail inmate who told us that inmates were being denied the right to read any books or magazines other than the Bible.

On January 27, 2016, ACLU-TN sent a letter to the jail demanding that the jail’s policy be changed and that inmates be allowed access to outside publications. The Haywood County attorney responded on February 8, 2016 stating that they would draft a new policy to accommodate inmates’ free speech right to access information. ACLU-TN worked with the county attorney to draft the new policy, which established a jail library, allowed inmates to possess multiple books in their cells, and provided a method for friends and families to donate books for the inmates to read.

After the policy went into effect, the father who originally contacted ACLU-TN wrote again to let us know he had spoken with his son, who reported that when the book cart came around last it had other books available. The father continued, “…there will be many, many others who will . Men and women who can actually learn something from a book while in jail, and maybe something they read can make some kind of a difference in their lives.”

Status: Closed

Related Documents

Legal Documents
Haywood County Jail Demand Letter (January 27, 2016)