Why do censorship halfway?


This editorial from the News Observer, regarding the partial censorship of reading materials in prisions is filled with sarcastic overtones.\"We\'d probably want to clear the shelves of most news magazines. Definitely The N&O and its competitors. And what about all these Harry Potter books that have the kids all jazzed? Must be dangerous. And I hear they are satanical. Oh and the Bill of Rights, that radical ol\' rag. Wouldn\'t want that to make the rounds.\"

\"In a memo sent to the prisons in early July, the Department of Correction announced a host of new restrictions for \"special control status\" prisoners -- guys who have gotten themselves into even more trouble in the big house. Or, as DOC spokeswoman Tracy Little put it, \"inmates who are management problems.\"

\"Starting Tuesday, Aug. 1, the memo declared, there would be no TV, no tobacco. Visitors would be limited to twice a month. Showers, four times a week. Ditto for exercise periods (presumably on the same days).\"

\"But the biggie, the one that you know will turn our inmate population inside out with grief, is the banning of magazine subscriptions, books and (gasp!) newspapers. Except for the Bible, Koran or other preapproved religious tract, the memo said, the only reading materials that prisoners would receive would have to come from the prison library cart.\"

\"I heard about this blatant censorship ... er ... policy from a couple of guys in segregation (H-Cons, they\'re called) up at Polk Youth Institute in Butner. They sent copies of the memo and letters filled with righteous indignation. (I always love that.)\"

\"I called the DOC to get the low-down on the crackdown, paying particular attention (naturally) to the newspaper issue.\"

\"And wouldn\'t you know it? Purely by coincidence, a letter rescinding the memo was sent out to all the prison superintendents just a few hours after my call.\"

\"The policy, DOC spokeswoman Little told me, is still under review. The memo, distributed weeks earlier, was apparently sent out by mistake.\"

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