Judging books by such a strict standard, it's hard to understand how the Bible gets in: It's got its share of escape-prone prisoners, underage brides and other subjects that seem to get authors into trouble.
The New York Times called it "an important reckoning." "A gripping history lesson," an Associated Press book reviewer declared.
"Anyone interested in America's prison system should read it," concluded The Dallas Morning News assessment of "Texas Tough," a new book covering the history of the state's corrections system.
One group with a natural interest in the subject has yet to crack the book's cover, however: Texas prisoners themselves. In March, mailroom handlers assigned to review incoming literature at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's James A. Lynaugh Unit in Fort Stockton judged a short passage in the opening chapter of "Texas Tough" about a girl's childhood molestation to be inappropriate for prisoners to read.
"My book gets banned because of indecency with a child?" said Robert Perkinson, the University of Hawaii American Studies professor who wrote the book. "The section is about how a huge portion of prisoners were abused themselves as children."Prison officials confirm that Perkinson's book is on the agency's no-read list, which includes thousands of titles, among them some acclaimed literature and classic art.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Texas prisoners can't read Texas prison history
The Statesman's Eric Dexheimer reports on the latest dustup over banned books at TDCJ: