Kansas Federal Judge Ends Recording of Attorney-Client Calls In State’s Federal Prisons
Several months ago we wrote about the practice of BOP officials being heavily criticized for making recordings of attorney-client calls and emails sent and received through the prison phone and email systems, a practice that a recent bill in Congress specifically addressed. That bill has not yet been voted on, but a federal judge in Kansas banned all such recordings in a recent ruling. US v. Black, et al., 16-20032.
Although that ruling only affects attorney-client conferences and calls in that state, it is the first known ruling specifically barring the practice, whereby such recordings were routinely sent to U.S. Attorneys. The ruling came about as a result of the exposure of the practice at a CCA-run federal facility at CCA Leavenworth.
This practice regularly occurs in all BOP facilities, with staff members routinely taking turns listening in on prisoner calls and reading Corrlinks emails that mention staff members or other “hot” topics. Of course, this is all the more reason to continue the practice of using legal mail for confidential communications, and making sure that staff follows the rules regarding such mail.
Of course, signs that warn that the “BOP reserves the right to monitor all calls and emails” abound in prison, ostensibly for institutional security. We at FLC have some other suggestions for other signs that might be appropriate to protect the unwary: “Warning: Prison Food may not meet federal standards;” “Warning: Prison medical care may not meet American Medical Association Standards.” Any other suggestions?
Federal Legal Center, Inc.
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