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NEWS

Short Update: Push to prevent US federal prisons from monitoring emails between inmates and attorneys amid COVID-19

FT Admin - June 23, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Access to a lawyer, Remote Justice, Surveillance

The COVID-19 pandemic has made communications between federal inmates and their attorneys extremely difficult. Visits have been banned since March, it takes weeks to receive mail and up to a month to set up an unmonitored phone call. The only viable means of communication is email.  

However, the Bureau of Prisons requires inmates to waive confidentiality and attorney-client privilege to send or receive emails. Federal prosecutors have used inmate’s emails against them in court. This means that lawyers cannot discuss key aspects of their clients’ cases over email, undermining the effectiveness of their representation.  

Pending legislation, part of the latest COVID-19 relief package, would end this policy and require warrants to access inmate emails.  

Read the LA Times op-ed here.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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