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First Amendment Infringement: The Media Blackout of George Skatzes

This is an article from Honeysuckle Magazine, by Sebastian Diaz, published about Dec. 2021, about George Skatzes:

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction justified the media blackout of prisoner George Skatzes’ by saying he was far too dangerous to be allowed to speak. However, the ACLU suggests that the ban is rooted in an ulterior motive.

Soon after Ohio prisoner George Skatzes was convicted of three murders during the 1993 Lucasville Riots, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) started to prohibit external media from visiting Skatzes for interviews.

While the initial media blackout prevented Skatzes from all forms of media under any circumstance, the ODRC has started to loosen its grip on who can be allowed to speak with Skatzes. Following a 2013 lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio against the ODRC’s media ban on behalf of Skatzes and other prisoners who were victims of “violation of the First and Fourteenth amendment,” the ODRC officially changed its blackout policy. While media persons can send requests to Chillicothe Correctional Institution, where Skatzes is housed, the ODRC maintains the final decision on approving requests.

Angie Dent, CEO of Ablaze Reform and social media manager for George Skatzes, spoke with Honeysuckle about the challenges that Skatzes’ team has had in getting his story told.

Read the rest here