Judge orders mediation in banned prison interviews lawsuit

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has directed opposing parties to try to resolve a dispute involving face-to-face media interviews by inmates convicted for their roles in Ohio’s deadly 1993 prison riot.

A 2013 lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union argues the prison system’s policy is inconsistent, especially when the backgrounds of other high-security prisoners granted access to reporters are reviewed.

The state argues that allowing the interviews could give the inmates too much “notoriety and influence” among fellow prisoners and cause problems throughout the correctional system.

Federal Judge Edmund Sargus ordered mediation on Monday. He said in a ruling last week that prisons can restrict face-to-face and video interviews as long as rules are applied evenly across the system and the inmates have other avenues of communicating their views.