Posted on September 27, 2019 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

PEN America has news for you: The largest book ban in America isn’t in a beleaguered public library or restrictive school.

It’s in the prison system.

The organization, which fights for the right to free expression, has released a report called Literature Locked Up to explain the extent of the problem.

In essence, state and federal prisons have the authority — under little oversight — to ban any book they wish in their systems.

Some of the more questionable examples:

  • Tennessee officials blocked a book about the Holocaust because a photo showed nude bodies of victims.

  • Colorado officials had to be pressured to allow copies of former President Barack Obama’s memoirs Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope, because they initially declared the books “potentially detrimental to national security.”

  • New York officials tried to ban a book of maps of the moon over concerns of escape risks.

You can read the full paper on PEN America’s website or hit the high notes in the Guardian's article on the prison book bans.

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