Inmates, Outrage, and Free Speech
It's understandable that Laci Peterson's mother is "outraged" that Scott Peterson posted his protestation of innocence on his family's website (his own website is relatively empty). She's nonetheless misguided in suggesting that "it isn't right that [inmates] should have access to the Internet, either direct access or through somebody else."
Her view that "being on death row is supposed to eliminate an inmate's privileges" is also understandable, but free speech is a right, not a privilege. Inmates lose some rights, but not all of them, by virtue of being incarcertated.
Free speech isn't free if people like Laci Peterson's mother can act as censors of words they find offensive. Whether or not Scott Peterson is guilty, there's no doubt that countless innocent inmates are serving time. If they don't bring their stories to the public's attention, who will? They often depend upon sympathetic journalists or columnists to call attention to their plight. Should they be barred from talking to reporters? Should they be prohibited from exposing abuses in the prison system that prison administrations will otherwise suppress? What's so different about eliminating the middleman and speaking to the public directly via the internet?
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