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Most books, many other items, now banned from New York prisons

Jan 09, 2018 3:55 pm
Michael Gartland and Shawn Cohen report in The New York Post that those incarcerated in the Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, and other New York prisons, now only have access to a few book titles from pre-approved internet vendors under a new state pilot program. “Taking books away from people is unconscionable and seems counterproductive if the idea is to educate and decrease recidivism,” said Lisa Davidson, a spokesperson for the nonprofit group Books Through Bars. The directive took effect in December at the Greene, Green Haven, and Taconic correctional facilities. Artist and writer Molly Crabapple wrote on Twitter, that, “Under new rules, people in New York prisons can only receive books from five certified vendors. They offer five junk sex novels, 14 bibles and religious books, 24 drawing/coloring books, 21 puzzle books, 11 guitar/chess/how-to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus. No other books can be sent in.” Additionally, “The purpose of these new rules is to force families of prisoners to buy overpriced, shoddy crap from a few politically connected vendors,” according to Crabapple. Directive 4911A also blocks prisoners from receiving fresh veggies or canned fruits and warm clothing, again limiting items available only to certain vendors. Amy Peterson said that, over 20 years, Books Through Bars has never had an instance of someone finding contraband in a book they’ve provided, and never got any complaints that their packages were a safety issue.
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