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DOJ let into suit on SC jail's Bible-only policy

May 03, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge says the U.S. Justice Department can join a lawsuit challenging a South Carolina jail's policy barring inmates from any reading material other than the Bible.

Court documents filed Monday show U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour agreed to allow the government to take part in the lawsuit against the Berkeley County jail.

The American Civil Liberties Union in October sued the Berkeley County jail on behalf of the monthly prison law journal Prison Legal News. The ACLU said officials at the jail in Moncks Corner are violating the magazine's and inmates' constitutional rights.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages and also asks a federal judge to halt the Bible-only policy and let a jury hear the case. Jury selection is set for January.

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