The ACLU of Nevada has received complaints from people who were denied the ability to visit inmates charged with felonies in the Lander County Jail.

It appears that Lander County has a policy that bans visits to inmates charged with felonies (other than by their attorneys). This violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and also violates the Nevada Constitution. On June 1, 2009, the Nevada ACLU sent a letter to Lander County urging them to cease enforcement of this policy.

Lander County jail officials have invoked § 212.150 of the Nevada Revised Statutes to prevent the detainees from communicating with members of free society. This statute, however, appears to violate the Constitution, especially since it has been applied to justify a blanket ban on visits to inmates charged with felonies.

Indeed, the practice not only violates the inmates’ rights – people who have notably only been charged, not convicted, of crimes – but it also violates the rights of the people trying to visit the inmates. While Lander County may establish reasonable regulations governing visits, it is hard to imagine why such a blanket ban is in place.

Click here to read the letter from the ACLU of Nevada to Lander County about its jail visitaion policy.