- A federal prison employee prevented a prisoner in Colorado from receiving books by President Obama, citing national security concerns.
- A Wisconsin prison banned all materials related to the fantasy role play game Dungeons & Dragons, concerned that the game would promote gang activity.
- A jail in South Carolina prohibited all publications with staples on the ground that staples could be used in makeshift tattoo guns. At the same time, the jail allowed prisoners to purchase legal pads that contained staples from the jail’s commissary.
- Jail employees in Virginia used scissors or a hobby knife to cut out biblical passages from letters a mother wrote to her incarcerated son. The letters given to the son had holes where the biblical passages had been.
- In Wisconsin, a prison forbade a prisoner from ordering the Physician’s Desk Reference.
- Some jails ban all newspaper and magazines. Others prohibit letters sent to prisoners, and allow only postcards.
- A purge of books in religious libraries maintained by federal prisons resulted in works by Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher, being pulled from the shelves.
- A prison allowed magazines such as Playboy and Maxim, but prohibited works by John Updike as salacious.”
See too: (1) In a different vein, see this guest post from several years ago at The Faculty Lounge: “The Bard of Avon in Prison.” (2) The Atlantic: “Why Shakespeare Belongs In Prison.” (3) From Louisville, Kentucky, “Shakespeare Behind Bars.” (4) My bibliography on “punishment and prison.”