Civil liberties union sues, saying New Hampshire prison ban on cards and drawings is unlawful

Civil liberties lawyers say the New Hampshire Department of Corrections' ban on greeting cards and handmade drawings hurts inmates and their families and is unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union-New Hampshire sued the department last week on behalf of an inmate whose 3-year-old son sent a Thanksgiving card that included drawings and the handwritten message: "I (heart) U DADDY."

Prison officials in May banned such cards because they said some inmates were getting the drug suboxone smuggled in via heavy card-stock paper or hidden by layered crayon drawings. Suboxone comes in thin strips.

The ACLU says the ban violates free speech and needlessly blocks innocent communications between inmates and their families.

A corrections department spokesman says the ban is needed to cut down on drug smuggling.