NPR: When It Comes To Email, Some Prisoners Say Attorney-Client Privilege Has Been Erased by Carrie Johnson:
It’s a staple on some of the longest-running crime shows on television: Communications between people charged with crimes and their lawyers are protected from government snooping under what’s known as attorney-client privilege.
In practice, things don’t always work that way, especially when it comes to email messages between incarcerated people in the federal system and their attorneys. That’s because within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, inmates are asked to “voluntarily” agree to electronic monitoring in order to use the bureau’s email system.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says there’s nothing voluntary about it. Unless incarcerated people agree to monitoring, they’re locked out of email communications. The group and a prominent civil liberties clinic at the University of California, Berkeley are now sounding the alarm. They say their concerns have been compounded during a pandemic that has made in-person visits particularly risky.