Banning the Caged Bird: Prison Book Censorship Across America

The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center found that across the country, prison censorship policies lacked transparency and were oftentimes inconsistently or unfairly implemented.

We found that state prisons ban books in two ways: (1) content bans and (2) content neutral bans. Prisons sometimes ban books in a combination of these two ways.

Additionally, prison policies, by design or application, made books inaccessible to incarcerated individuals. And in many prisons, books relating to racial equality, social justice, and even black history have received the ire of many Department of Corrections.

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