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Old 07-13-2006, 04:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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No porn for prisoners, let's sue...

Inmates challenge Hustler, Playboy ban
Quote:
(CNN) -- Two inmates are suing Indiana because of a policy that bans graphic magazines, such as Playboy, Penthouse or Hustler.

The state Department of Corrections put a policy in place July 1 that bans sexually explicit letters and general-circulation publications. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, is on behalf of more than 20,000 state prisoners.

The policy is so broad that it bans personal letters between prisoners and loved ones, and much of the world's great art and literature, the inmates claim.

The policy states that It is intended to ensure the safety and security of the offenders and the facilities as they maintain contact with people in the community through correspondence, printed material and packages.

"The ban is for graphic description, rather than word description," Department of Corrections attorney Bob Bugher said.

Ernest Tope, 53, is serving a life sentence in Pendleton for murder, and Wade Meisberger, 34, is serving time in Miami for murder and auto theft.

"They are challenging the new policy through the prison grievance system, but they have not been successful," said Ken Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Indiana.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Java Ahmed said that the agency has not received a copy of the lawsuit.

"We don't have any current plans to make any changes," Ahmed said. "If throughout the process the court says it's constitutionally inappropriate, we would do so, but we don't think it's unconstitutional."
Prisoners or not, this is censorship, especially if this policy is as broad as they say it is. Sexually explicit material could also ban great works of literature like DH Lawrence and some other writers (which I'm thinking isn't probably high on prisoner's reading lists, but it might be the principal of the thing.

I'm the biggest supporter of prison being about punishment, I'm not sure I'd have a real problem with chain gangs, rather than just giving prisoners three meals and a bed, but to me this is censorship,and censorship in any form, to me is wrong.

Do you support a ban on prisoner's being able to read sexually explicit personal letters, or mass market publications, or even literature?
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Prisoners, in general, have limited, if any, rights. The 'preferred' material should only be things that relate to rehabilitation, like things to educate ones self or to better yourself to become a responsible member of society.
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Growing up with a mother who was a professor of english literature, her philosophy was that anything that you read was a good thing and helped to educate you, my brother learned to read by reading the sports pages of the NY Times, because he loved baseball... So Hustler and Penthouse aside, Playboy does have articles in it, some pretty good ones, how is that not encouraging someone to read?

Going by the new policy, parts of the bible could be considered sexually suggestive, so is the bible going to be put on the banned list as well?

I really hate it when i sound like a liberal... shudder
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not sure exactly how many inmates are really into "great art and literature", but one thing I do know...the absolute last thing that I'd want, as an inmate, is my cellmate, Bubba, getting all hot and bothered after reading the Penthouse Forum. I just don't get a good nights sleep with one eye open all night.

I say go ahead and restrict (ban) it. If they want something to read, have 'em enroll in an english, math or geography class and give 'em a textbook.
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Since most people in the penal system have given up their right to free speech, privacy, bear arms, voting... I don't think that this is any big deal.

It's prison, not summer camp.
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Old 07-13-2006, 05:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My personal views of prison are quite strict and im sure everyone would scold me. I will just say that I think they get far too much since many are repeat offenders. Take enough away, make prison rotten enough and they may just straighten up. People in prison often enjoy things working class citizens cant afford. How can that be justified?
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would say that the need to maintain peace and order in the prison outweighs any rights a prisoner might have to any particular reading material.

Mal, I get your point about any reading being valuable, and I agree completely. So how about free subscriptions to Home & Garden for every inmate? Does it have to be something designed to arouse?

I'm a HUGE art and literature lover--I have a BA in English Lit for crying out loud--but when you're in prison, I don't see that you have any right to those things, especially when they can be shown to impact prison security and the safety of other inmates.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I honestly don't know so I'm asking.. how does pornography or sexually explicit material make a prison less secure? If Bubba the inmate is perusing this month's hustler, and sprouts a boner, does that mean that poor inmate Charlie is gonna take it up the ass? Wouldn't bubba just take care of business with himself?

Rape in prison is a very real thing, but like rape in the real world it's not about someone being sexually aroused, it's about control and power and other stuff... it'snot the actof sex... more of domination... (least i think)

If bubba's girlfriend sends him a naughty letter, how does that hurt anyone?
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Reading and education in prison is not a 'right', it's a privilege. These prisoners lost their rights when they were tried and convicted. It is completely within the authority of the state to limit or proscribe whatever reading material they feel is appropriate.
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Last edited by dksuddeth; 07-13-2006 at 06:43 AM..
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You have to remember that they are on a Government Institution, and not on their own private property. Can you look at hustler in public, not sure, but pretty sure that its not okay to read in say a courthouse, another government building. I agree with Cynthetic you give up those rights once you get locked up
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Reading and education in prison is not a 'right', it's a priviledge. These prisoners lost their rights when they were tried and convicted. It is completely within the authority of the state to limit or proscribe whatever reading material they feel is appropriate.
Absolutely, but wouldn't you want prisoners to have access to reading materials and be able to further their education, if only to keep the rate of recidivism down? Sure some are going to abuse that knowledge, but isn't it in the people's best interest to provide criminals means to become productive members of society?


As for the OP...

Arbitrary blanket censorship of reading material make me nervous, whatever the venue and even if it is just a bunch of dirty pictures. How many 'rights' do we need to take away to reassure ourselves that prisoners are being punished?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most prisoners are already painfully aware that they are in prison and, truth be told, I would rather have Bubba looking at a Playboy and rubbing one out than eyballing me when the lights go out if, god forbid, I should ever end up in prison.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample
You have to remember that they are on a Government Institution, and not on their own private property.
While I agree that prisoners should have limited access to certain types of select "reading" materials...I disagree with this particular argument. A United States Air Force base is also a government installation. Yet, when I was active duty, I sure read my fair share of printed pornographic material. So, the fact that the taxpayers own the roof over thier heads, is not the reason to ban the material.
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Old 07-13-2006, 07:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample
You have to remember that they are on a Government Institution, and not on their own private property. Can you look at hustler in public, not sure, but pretty sure that its not okay to read in say a courthouse, another government building. I agree with Cynthetic you give up those rights once you get locked up
actually many prisons now are privately owned and contracted by state and federal governements.
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guthmund
Absolutely, but wouldn't you want prisoners to have access to reading materials and be able to further their education, if only to keep the rate of recidivism down? Sure some are going to abuse that knowledge, but isn't it in the people's best interest to provide criminals means to become productive members of society?
which is what I put in my first post (#2) on this thread.
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Recidivism rates are high (and this is my pure opinion) because there is not enough being done to help the prisoners rehabilitate to begin with. It's bad enough when they get out they will have a hard time finding a job and doing regular things.. so now let's just censor what they read and make sure they can't edcuate themselves in the arts or other areas and make it even tougher!

I understand the argument being put forth that some material could make some prisoners relive their pasts. In most cases, if the prisoner has the kind of mind that reading a book or article makes him want to do things, they are in a mental ward. Just because a person "gave up their rights" and freedom doesn't mean they shouldn't have any rights in prison. As far as making jail tougher.. seriously, that's about the worst thing you could do for rehabilitation (chain gangs, etc.). You get a bunch of men or women locked up in a jail with nothing to do but hard labor and no other outlet and the consequences will be far more severe than letting "bubba" wank off to Penthouse.

So I guess.. what I'm really saying is I hope the prisoners win this battle.. at least for the sake of letting their girlfriends/wives/husbands tell them they masterbated while thinking about them. Want a reason? How about that gives them some hope and a reason to be a better person if and when they do get out.
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
which is what I put in my first post (#2) on this thread.
Oops...yeah, I guess I missed that.

Carry on then.
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Old 07-13-2006, 10:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guccilvr
As far as making jail tougher.. seriously, that's about the worst thing you could do for rehabilitation (chain gangs, etc.).
That's where we part company...and that's cool. See...I don't see prison as rehabilitation. I see prison as just punishment for offenses commited. This, I suppose, is where the neo-con in me comes out. (shutup Ustwo) In BOR world, prison is such a miserable fucked up shithole that it is an actual deterent to crime. Consider this...the little gangbangers, up in the 'hood, consider prison time to be somewhat of a badge of honor. WTF is that? Make it so horrible that people will want to do anything they can...to stay out. Playboy? Penthouse? No. In BORland, the prisoners are going to be so exhausted from working 16 hours in the fields, growing the crops that's going to feed thier sorry asses in a few months, that porn is going to be the absolute last thing on thier minds.
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Old 07-13-2006, 11:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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..but it's <i>not</i> BOR world

My whole point is when does a person actually lose the title of human being? Now I'm not a bleeding heart liberal, but I'd like to think that there are ways of making a person become a viable part of society rather than just put them in a shithole of a prison and break their back. Speaking of chaingangs.. I wonder if there are any recedivism rates for Angola prison. IIRC that's one of the toughest and hardest working camps a person could be sent to. I guess we'd have to see stats of "tough" prisons versus "pansy" prisons. Of course we'd have to look at the spectrum of people in those prisons as well....


wtf.. I didn't mean to go on that rabbit trail. My whole point is what harm could a playboy do??
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Old 07-13-2006, 11:19 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O'Rights
That's where we part company...and that's cool. See...I don't see prison as rehabilitation. I see prison as just punishment for offenses commited. This, I suppose, is where the neo-con in me comes out. (shutup Ustwo) In BOR world, prison is such a miserable fucked up shithole that it is an actual deterent to crime. Consider this...the little gangbangers, up in the 'hood, consider prison time to be somewhat of a badge of honor. WTF is that? Make it so horrible that people will want to do anything they can...to stay out. Playboy? Penthouse? No. In BORland, the prisoners are going to be so exhausted from working 16 hours in the fields, growing the crops that's going to feed thier sorry asses in a few months, that porn is going to be the absolute last thing on thier minds.
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I get the top bunk.
Weirdo.
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:39 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Prison is punishment, so punish them. That's what they're there for. Make them work and sweat and genuinely regret having been put in there.

Censorship is censorship. Slippery slope material. Don't tread there.
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guccilvr
My whole point is when does a person actually lose the title of human being?
I don't think anyone is saying to take away the title 'human being', but if a person is convicted of a criminal offense, they lose rights. Part of the 5th amendment "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;". They were given due process and now they have only one right. The right to life. Everything else is a priviledge.
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:58 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
I really hate it when i sound like a liberal... shudder
It really looks good on you, mal! Why don't you take it for a spin around the block.
It's good to see from the other side of the fence occasionnally. I was forced to and in ways i'm better for it.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:03 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O'Rights
That's where we part company...and that's cool. See...I don't see prison as rehabilitation. I see prison as just punishment for offenses commited. This, I suppose, is where the neo-con in me comes out. (shutup Ustwo) In BOR world, prison is such a miserable fucked up shithole that it is an actual deterent to crime. Consider this...the little gangbangers, up in the 'hood, consider prison time to be somewhat of a badge of honor. WTF is that? Make it so horrible that people will want to do anything they can...to stay out. Playboy? Penthouse? No. In BORland, the prisoners are going to be so exhausted from working 16 hours in the fields, growing the crops that's going to feed thier sorry asses in a few months, that porn is going to be the absolute last thing on thier minds.
I agree whole heartedly. Chain gangs, and forced work is an excellant idea. Force those who take something away from society to give something back. Hell, if we're getting enough out of them we can even pay them a meagar wage, so that once they do serve their time, and get out, they a little something to start on.

Even if it was only a 12 hour day, 5 days a week, and we alotted a wage of say $2 an hour, (as a reward by the way, they shirk their duty, or in anyway fuck up, it disappears), provided they did enough work, I imagine we could still save our civil system money. And that would give them, over say a 5 year sentence $2500 bucks to go find an apartment, and support their own asses until they can get a job.

Maybe I'm too nice, I don't know.

On the explicit material issue... That's a really tough one, but I say they do not have a right to have a penthouse and playboys. Explicit detailed letter from hubby back home? I'll let that slide. I'm all for having reading material available, but it has to be useful reading material.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:37 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
I honestly don't know so I'm asking.. how does pornography or sexually explicit material make a prison less secure? If Bubba the inmate is perusing this month's hustler, and sprouts a boner, does that mean that poor inmate Charlie is gonna take it up the ass? Wouldn't bubba just take care of business with himself?
Rape in prison is a very real thing, but like rape in the real world it's not about someone being sexually aroused, it's about control and power and other stuff... it'snot the actof sex... more of domination... (least i think)
If bubba's girlfriend sends him a naughty letter, how does that hurt anyone?
Female officers run a big risk working in prisons... sexually frustrating the general prison population to the point of any woman will do so lets gang bang her... well it scares me. I have a friend who is a prison guard which is why I know about this happening. He is male, but has co-workers who have been raped by HIV positive inmates who really "needed a piece".

On a personal note, I went to visit an old frien in prison once... not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but there was a prisoner there (male) who had a visitor (female) and they tried to get busy right there. (You are only allowed a hug and kiss upon entering and leaving.) They had to put in a call and out of nowhere about 20 guards came in to wrestle this man off this woman in the visitation room- and he tried to fight them off to get to her.

Prison is a scary place, I am not saying that people shouldnt be allowed to have anything... but sometimes strict rules are needed for the safety of the greater public. Being in prison is punnishment, when you punnish your child you dont allow them to have everything they want... you take things away to give them incentive to do better.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:47 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I'm against censorship, but I'm don't think that censorship is really the issue here. It's one of rehabilitation. One of the reasons they are in prison is that they *don't* have the self control and discipline that comes to be expected of members of a society. So, yeah, porn may cause fights and rapes and be bad for prison moral. But, they are (suposedly) being taught responsibility and self control in prision, albeit very late in life. Perhaps ones that have proven themselves? Moved up to minimun security?

Also, I enjoy porn, but I consider in a luxury. Not a base need. I don't really think prisoners really need Vanilla Lattes, either. But, if they behave and don't rape their cell mate perhaps a visti to Starbucks may be in order.

Porn is fun, but it's not exactly challenging their intellects. Tropic of Cancer, sure. Penthouse Forum ... don't see a real need for it.
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:56 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Reading and education in prison is not a 'right', it's a privilege. These prisoners lost their rights when they were tried and convicted. It is completely within the authority of the state to limit or proscribe whatever reading material they feel is appropriate.
Yup, yup, yup.

You say one of them was a murderer? Well shit, he just ended someone's right to LIVE let alone read/view porn.

In my opinion it's only fair to make the accused go through the same, only difference is that they're alive.

But hey, if it makes you/them feel better, they can read Dr. Suess (okay I ddin't spell it right, but sound it out) books.

However, if it's a petty crime such as theft, I beleive literature that is boring and mundane is allowed. I want them to realize prision is not a place they want to come back to once/if they get out.

If you give them (almost) free rights why wouldn't they just do what they did before and come back to a free day care center that lasts a few weeks/months?
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Old 07-15-2006, 06:30 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
I honestly don't know so I'm asking.. how does pornography or sexually explicit material make a prison less secure? If Bubba the inmate is perusing this month's hustler, and sprouts a boner, does that mean that poor inmate Charlie is gonna take it up the ass? Wouldn't bubba just take care of business with himself?

Rape in prison is a very real thing, but like rape in the real world it's not about someone being sexually aroused, it's about control and power and other stuff... it'snot the actof sex... more of domination... (least i think)

If bubba's girlfriend sends him a naughty letter, how does that hurt anyone?
I had the same question about the
Quote:
ensure the safety and security of the offenders and the facilities
statement from policy. They should just call it what it is...We don't want our guests that are here to be punished viewing fun stuff like Playboy, Penthouse, etc. I hope they also ban cable TV viewing because those "Girls Gone Wild" ads are pretty entertaining too. They should just state in the policy what publications are contraban. I feel if you've stepped over the line enough to have your liberty taken away in the first place then that also applies to what you can "read".
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:15 AM   #29 (permalink)
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You know, when I first thought about this, my initial "feelings" were, hey man that sucks, if I was in prison, and I was restricted to certain reading materials, I would be extremely upset. Aside from the art and literature, and getting to the real source of this topic (pornographic content), How can I be in prison surrounded by men, and keep my sanity, if I cannot look a some provacative photographs of women??

Now, after getting that initial thought about of my head, and thinking more reasonable, I think that prisoners are there for a reason. They lose all "privelages" and rights that we in everyday society have. And if/when these prisoners get out, it would be more beneficial that they are reading something more intellectual and encouraging to help benefit then when they are released.

so in the end... I guess there is validity to the ban.
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