February 15, 2018

In Illinois, another lawsuit to try to get publications into prisons


We’ve been following some ongoing reports on the censorship of reading materials available to inmates in prisons across the country, and the latest comes to us from Chicago, where the Human Rights Defense Center has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois DOC.

For WBBM Newsradio, Mike Krauser reports that some HRDC publications (including Prison Legal News, “a 72-page monthly publication that covers news and court rulings related to the criminal justice system” and has more that 200 subscribers in the state), self-help, and legal books aren’t always being delivered.

The publisher’s attorney, Alan Mills, says, “They check off the little box sometimes, which says ‘security,’ but that’s all they say. So there’s no way for us to know which articles they think are a problem, let alone why they think they’re a problem.”

The upshot here—as in New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina—seems to be not so much that the systems are bad (though surely they are bad), but more that they’re opaque, arbitrary, and inconsistently applied.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.