AUGUSTA, Maine — A federal magistrate is recommending that a lawsuit over mail policies at the Maine State Prison go forward as a class action.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III made his recommendation March 4 in a case brought by an inmate organization called the Long Timers Group Inc. and some individual inmates. Their suit challenges the constitutionality of the prison’s mail screening policies.

Assistant Attorney General Diane Sleek, who represents the Corrections Department, says the state did not oppose the request for a class action. Sleek would not comment Thursday on the inmates’ complaint about the mail.

In their civil suit, prisoners allege that their mail has been improperly withheld, confiscated or destroyed by corrections employees.