Grisham and Updike among authors banned by Texan jail authorities

Grisham and Updike among authors banned by Texan jail authorities
An exhaustive analysis by the Austin American Statesman of five years'-worth of publications whose rejection as unsuitable was appealed by inmates found a host of bestselling and classic titles had been banned from the state's prisons. Books by Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Andre Gide, collections of paintings by Picasso and Michelangelo, and bestsellers by James Patterson, Carl Hiaasen and Hunter S Thompson have all failed to pass the prisons' censors.


... but think of all the wonderful reading you can catch up on when you finally get free...

Given the simple fact that we lock up more citizens than any other nation it might be a good idea for us as a nation to decide whether we are rehabilitating or punishing our prison populations. If we are going for punishment then by all means take away reading materials, art, music and all the other things that enrich our lives but then we must also be prepared for those prisoners to come out worse then they went in. To be sure, books and art and music will not always "rehabilitate " a prisoner but I think its safe to say that if you treat a man like an animal then you have only yourself to blame if later on that "animal" bites you or your family.

Prison policy seems to be based on the old testament's ideal of "an eye for an eye" which is funny given the "christian" folk who have banded together to make our country so oppressive that even the China locks up less of its population then we do....

"Don't do the time if you cant do the time" is a great catch phrase kind of like "Whatchu talkin bout Willis" but when push comes to shove it does not in any way speak to the issues inherent to this debate. Given the ecocomic realities of the "lock them up and lock them up forever" three strikes crowd punitive prison policies seem counter productive...

As a librarian I see ANY kind of censorship as a bad thing and as a thinking and voting citizen of this sometimes VERY unfair nation I see the push for mindless punishment as just another boondoggle sure to empty the nations coffers again and again as those same prisoners get out with the same skill set they went in with.

Casey Nees

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