NonProfit Prison Book Vendors Accuse Texas Prisons of Censorship

Two nonprofit prison book programs are accusing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) of quietly implementing a new book vendor approval policy that they say amounts to censorship, reports Toluwani Osibamowo for Houston Public Media. The nonprofits claim that the new policy can seriously limit the flow of books to incarcerated people by restricting which distributors can send reading materials to prisons. TDCJ says that the change was part of the department’s switch to digital mail effective Sept. 6 in order to reduce contraband coming into Texas prisons during a statewide prison lockdown in September. Only books, magazines and packages sent to inmates from “verified” publishing companies were exempt from sorting and scanning and a centralized location.

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