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ACLU: Censorship, Not Security, Is Blocking Reporters From Lucasville Five

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

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Four reporters and a college instructor are suing the head of Ohio’s prison system over his refusal to let them interview five men on death row about their roles in the Lucasville prison riots of 20 years ago. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the case of free press versus prison security.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued on behalf of the reporters, as well as the five prisoners, who went on a hunger strike in April to try to gain access to the media.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has maintained the prisoners cannot be interviewed because they’re at the highest level of security.

But James Hardiman, legal director of the ACLU, argues that the state has granted access to other death row inmates. And he says it was clear when he saw the five a few weeks ago that they are going no where.

“It seemed to me that the security is way over the top,” Hardiman said. “Each one of the inmates was brought in with two guards, full chains. They were chained to tables. They’d have to be a cross between Superman and the Incredible Hulk to break out of that.”

Hardiman maintains the five are very different men than they were in April of 1993, when the riot broke out and lasted 11 days. One guard and nine prisoners were killed.

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Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

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