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7,000 Books And Magazines Are Banned In Kansas Prisons. (Including Dean’s) by Nomin Ujiyediin

June 20, 2019

“A Clockwork Orange.” “Invisible Man.” “Twelve Years a Slave.”

Issues of Bloomberg Businessweek, Us Weekly, Elle.

“Excel 2016 for Dummies.” “Tarot Fundamentals.” “Electrical Theory.”

Over the past 15 years, the Kansas Department of Corrections banned those titles, and about 7,000 others, from its prisons across the state.

The department says it censors books and magazines that could threaten security. But others argue that the size of the list and the broad topics covered under censorship guidelines limit inmates’ education, make their time in prison that much less bearable and further cut them off from an outside world to which they’ll eventually return.

Interim corrections secretary Chuck Simmons said the department prioritizes safety over giving inmates an unlimited selection of books and magazines.

“We censor based on the impact, or potential impact, on the security and operations of the correctional facility,” he said. “There are other publications that the inmate has access to that can accomplish the same purpose in their education or rehabilitation goals.”

“Ultimately, it comes down to control of the population, which I think is especially reflected in the breathtaking array of books that Kansas has made a decision to ban,” she said in a phone interview. “Most of them, I think that the general population would agree are very nonsensical.”

The list includes biographies of musicians such as Kurt Cobain and Tupac, memoirs by raunchy comedians Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce and novels by bestselling authors like Nora Roberts and Dean Koontz.

Also banned are issues of comics like “Deadpool” and “The Walking Dead,” Japanese manga, and books and magazines about LGBTQ topics.

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Here’s the full list: