When most people think of banned books they think of parental challenges to books in public schools or public libraries. It is true that most of the book challenges (96%) reported to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom occur in those settings. They key word here is “reported.” There is a largely unremarked upon issue of banned books when it comes to prison settings.
The Human Rights Defense Center obtained a thirty-three page list of printed materials and books that are screened and excluded from Ohio prisons. You can also read about banned book lists from other states at The Human Rights Defense Center and at Books to Prisoners. Even if a book is not banned, getting access to books is also an issue. Prisons in Ohio and other states have even banned book donations, requiring prisoners to purchase new books from approved vendors.
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