What You Can and Can’t Read in Connecticut State Prisons

From “Game of Thrones” to the Koran, it’s not too easy to know what you can get away with.

National Journal “If you’re spending your days in the Connecticut prison system, you’re in some luck. As of this month, you’ll now be able to read the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin, made phenomenally popular by HBO’s Game of Thrones.

But it’s not quite that simple. A new list of approved, banned, and “under consideration” publications from an Aug. 6 meeting of the Connecticut Bureau of Corrections’ Media Review Board shows how difficult it can be to get some reading done. And that goes well beyond Game of Thrones.

Not even all of A Song of Ice and Fire is safe. According to the bureau, the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was until recently banned for “safety and security” reasons. That book was listed as barred following the Aug. 6 meeting, but Karen Martucci, the bureau’s acting director of external affairs, told National Journal that the book has since been approved following an appeal. We do, however, feel for the inmate(s) who read A Clash of Kings or A Storm of Swords without first getting to read A Game of Thrones. That sounds bewildering.

The most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, doesn’t have a clear status, likely because it has not yet been requested by a prisoner, Martucci tells National Journal.

So what’s the logic behind holding up one book in a series full of sex, beheadings, and torture? The bureau doesn’t make that totally clear. And a glance at other banned items on the list doesn’t help to reveal much underlying sense.

The July 22, 2013 issue of The New Yorker is currently not allowed into Connecticut state prisons. While no specific reason for the ban aside from “safety and security” is given by the bureau, that magazine does contain a piece by Rachel Louise Snyder on domestic abuse. The story’s lede: “Dorothy Giunta-Cotter knew that someday her husband, William, would kill her.”

But it’s not just obvious violence. Nine issues of The Coalition for Prisoners Rights were not allowed as of the Aug. 6 meeting. And, for some reason, September’s Slam Magazine, with LeBron James on the cover, was barred for “safety and security.” Full Story On National Journal

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