Dan Korobkin, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, today applauded a federal appeals court for upholding an earlier ruling that Livingston County Jail officials violated the Constitution by refusing to give inmates letters from ACLU attorneys.

“The decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the common-sense principle that attorneys from the ACLU have a right to correspond with prisoners to investigate conditions of confinement and offer legal assistance,” said Korobkin of yesterday's appeals court decision. “Authoritarian dictatorships hold their prisoners incommunicado from human rights attorneys. In a democracy, we don’t do that.”

Last year, a U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against policies that allowed jail officials to withhold the letters, calling the guidelines a violation of inmates' rights. The 6th Circuit upheld the ruling following the jail’s appeal.