27 Mar

A great many would argue that prisoners deserve nothing – no TV, no books, no nothing. On the other hand, some organizations, like the Center for Constitutional Rights, argue that the ordeal inmates go through when serving time in solitary – perhaps the worst form of punishment other than the ultimate punishment – is tantamount to torture.

That’s very likely true.

But is a book ban a form of cruel and unusual punishment or torture? It’s definitely harder to make that case, but a book ban might be worse than it appears at first glance. A group of prominent writers in Great Britain, as Chris Green reports for the Independent, are “outraged” at the ban on books for prisoners, and have published a letter in the Daily Telegraph (seriously, what else are writers going to do but write a letter?) addressed to the government in an effort to nix the ban.

Green quotes a portion of the letter:

“Books represent a lifeline behind bars, a way of nourishing the mind and filling the many hours that prisoners spend locked in their cells. In an environment with no internet access and only limited library facilities, books become all the more important.”