Prisoner rights group: Kansas prisons unfairly block books

Topeka Correctional Facility (WIBW)
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TOPEKA, Kan (AP)-- A prisoner rights group says the Kansas Department of Corrections unfairly censors publications even with the adoption of a new policy and the elimination of a banned book list.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the Human Rights Defense Center has cited a list of more than 200 books and magazines that administrators have recently blocked, including Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize winner “The Overstory.”

In May, the center revealed that the prison system maintained a list of 7,000 banned books. Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda abolished the list after his arrival in July. He adopted a policy that allows for the review and appeal of confiscated publications earlier this year.

Department spokesman Randy Bowman says the policy is based on the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on obscenity.