Banned behind bars: 20,000 books can't be read by Florida inmates; the list may surprise you
September 21 to September 27 is Banned Books Week
“How to Leave Prison Early” is not welcome in Florida prisons. The Department of Corrections has declared the how-to book on work release, parole and clemency off limits for the 96,000 inmates in state custody.
“It makes no sense. All it does is explain Florida law to help inmates and families understand their options and eligibility,” said the book’s author, Reggie Garcia, a Tallahassee clemency lawyer.
Garcia's book is among the 20,000 publications banned by the Department of Corrections in what critics call a punitive interpretation of a 1987 court ruling that allows the state to restrict inmates' First Amendment rights.
The courts allow prison officials to ban publications if it serves a “legitimate penological interest.” That interest is usually couched in terms of safety and security. Garcia’s book tripped the security alarm when he identified the inmate in a case he used as an example.