books locked out of prison

The Texas Bureau of Prisons does not want hazardous materials in the hands of its inmates, according to an expose in the Austin American-Statesman, so it has banned 89,795 books and magazines, including works by Alice Walker, Edwidge Danticat, Pablo Neruda, John Grisham, and – wait for it – Jenna Bush. I guess she set a bad example or something, and Neruda was a socialist, but I’d like to know the charges against Danticat. Provoking thought in a dangerous manner?

Texas prison officials said restrictions on reading material are for the good of both guards and inmates. “We have to protect the safety and security of our institution, but also aid in the rehabilitation of our offenders,” said Jason Clark, an agency spokesman.

“And what may not be judged inflammatory in the public at large can be inflammatory in prison.”

No shit. Mention unalienable rights or free speech in there and no telling what might happen. But one thing you can say for Texas officials. They keep very accurate records of how many books they’ve banned.

photo courtesy of curium.

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