BATON ROUGE, La. — A federal lawsuit accuses Louisiana prison officials of violating the rights of state penitentiary prisoners by banning them from talking about their crime in interviews.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Tuesday in Baton Rouge. The suit says the policy bans interviews about the crimes because of the possible effect of such interviews on crime victims’ families.

The ACLU represents prisoner Darold Hines and Christopher Lowery, a former coordinator with the Wrongful Conviction Project. The suit says the policy prevents Lowery from reporting on issues of public concern. And, it says the policy hinders Hines’ post-conviction appeals.

The suit also says the penitentiary unconstitutionally blocks media representatives from prisoner interviews.

Ken Pastorick, a Corrections Department spokesman, said Tuesday that the department does not comment on pending litigation.