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New Florida prison rule unnecessary; violates the right of the incarcerated to talk to attorneys

 Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) held a hearing Thursday afternoon to get feedback on a proposed rule change that would make it difficult to impossible for incarcerated people to speak with lawyers who aren’t representing them.   

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) opposes this rule change and calls on FDC to abandon plans to enact it. Under this rule change, incarcerated people would be unable to talk to lawyers about their rights and obtain legal representation on issues like prison conditions, criminal appeals, and post-conviction motions.     

It would also be more difficult to hold Florida accountable for unconstitutional conditions of confinement.   

The following is a statement from Krista Dolan, senior staff attorney for criminal justice reform at SPLC. Dolan spoke in opposition to the rule change at today’s meeting.  

“The proposed rule raises serious constitutional and ethical questions. It interferes with incarcerated individuals’ access to attorneys and with legal organizations’ right to solicit incarcerated clients to inform them about their legal rights and creates a host of problems related to attorney-client privilege and confidentiality. FDC should reject this rule change and focus on improving the conditions in which incarcerated individuals live.”