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All they do is make people unhappy, Montag.

An exciting new pilot program in New York’s state prison system is aimed at cutting down on contraband getting to prisoners by limiting package deliveries to prisoners to items purchased and shipped from a limited number of authorized vendors, which will be the only source of outside packages allowed. If the pilot program’s deemed a success, the restrictions will expand to all the state’s prisons. No more cell phones hidden inside Bibles from home, no more Oxycontin tablets sewn into shirt hems, and of course, no more perfectly innocent shipment of homemade cookies, either, because prison is meant to be hard. Also, uh-oh, unless the approved vendors expand their offerings of books, ThinkProgress reports,only 77 titles can be shipped to prisoners.

The new rule, with the catchy name “Directive 4911A,” was issued last month and will first apply to three prisons before possible expansion. The policy, says the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), is designed to “enhance the safety and security of correctional facilities through a more controlled inmate package program.” And if it limits the reading options of prisoners, who cares? It’s not like they’re people. ThinkProgress looked at the extremely limited range of reading available from the first five vendors approved for the program. Combined, they offer

just five romance novels, 14 religious texts, 24 drawing or coloring books, 21 puzzle books, 11 how-to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus.

We don’t think that even includes the excellent Ted Cruz Coloring Book. You might have to be incarcerated in Texas to have access to that.

One nonprofit group of liberal literary do-gooder hippie troublemakers, the Books Through Bars Collective, has been making a fuss about the new policy, claiming that it would limit access to educational and just plain monotony-relieving reading for inmates, as if they deserved anything but all punishment all the time. Books Through Bars sends books to prisoners in 40 states, at no cost, at the request of prison inmates or their families. The volunteer program delivers about 600 book packages a month. Even books with no Jesus or pictures at all!

Books Through Bars protested — like a bunch of knee-jerk eggheads — that the new policy would mean imprisoned people in New York might have no access to

Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, or other literature that helps people connect with what it means to be human. No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release from prison. No books about health, about history, about almost anything inside or outside the prison walls. This draconian restriction closes off so much of the world to thousands of people.

A spokesperson for Books Through Bars, Amy Peterson, told ThinkProgress that the program has helped people obtain skills and education that helped them prepare for life after prison, like one man who learned English from books sent to him, or others who learned how to start businesses. We bet some may have even read for — gasp! — entertainment. She added that in the two decades the program has been running, no contraband has ever been found in one of their packages. But how can she be sure? Some people may have read books that exposed them to dangerous ideas about rights, justice, and possibly even the nutty concept that America isn’t entirely fair.

Even if prisoners might want those five romance novels and 11 how-to books, their families will have to buy them at whatever price the vendors charge, which, if the package system works anything like prison phone calls, will be far more expensive than a conventional bookstore, to say nothing of the fact that Books Behind Bars sends books for free. And of course, the program will prohibit any packages brought from home. Whatever happened to just searching the damn things? Heavens, it’s not like education reduces recidivism, except for the evidence showing education reduces recidivism.

But don’t worry! New York’s DOCCS told ThinkProgress in a statement Monday that the new program will work out just fine:

Over the last two years, the Department worked to develop a secure vendor package program to increase facility safety by reducing the introduction of contraband. Secure vendor programs are used by nearly 30 jurisdictions in the country and are cited as a national best practice. Furthermore, it is patently false to suggest that individuals in DOCCS custody will not have access to books, magazines, or other literature.

If they went into any further detail on that, ThinkProgress didn’t say; presumably the statement was referring to prison libraries, which as far as we can tell have not yet been eliminated, so everything is all good, as long as inmates don’t want to actually have any books of their own beyond the 77 available titles. In any case, they’re only prisoners, and only an idiot liberal would care about lawbreakers’ access to books, anyway. Don’t do the crime if you can’t color in the lines.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to send money to us liberal literate squishes, won’t you?

[ThinkProgress / Books Through Bars]

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  • canes_pugnaces
  • Oblios_Cap

    Because all prisons have an Andy Dufresne to create and maintain their libraries, right?

  • Nounverb911

    Well, if trump can’t/won’t read why should people stuck in little cells read?
    /snark

  • Bright Bart

    i wish Ted would Cruz to the future so we wouldn’t have to see his stupid face…except we would…in the future. Oops i blew a mind fuse

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/41a67e989ecb215858b2e37bfc2f98370a7c51bfdf4df1f719cf54d01574a94b.gif

    • msanthropesmr

      In California, are we?

      • Bright Bart

        i wish. it is cold and dreary in metro DC land.

        • msanthropesmr

          About 2 hours south in the capital of the condeferancy.

  • msanthropesmr

    As long as they don’t subject the prisoners to Charles Dickens or Ethan Frome, I’m OK with that.

  • Bright Bart

    Is “Art of The Deal” on the list? I hear its tremendous.

    • wide_stance_hubby

      Could very easily become a projectile, however.

    • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

      Look, we’re AGAINST cruel and unusual punishment here.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Two of the books were “Art of The Deal” and “Twilight” but even prison officials thought that was too cruel.

  • ariel_gee_398

    If DOCCS really cares about stopping contraband, they’re gonna have to start searching guards more thoroughly.

  • Crank Tango

    Great, now where do I send this copy of the Fountainhead soaked in acid?

    • msanthropesmr

      Rand Paul
      c/o Ford office building
      Washington, DC

    • therblig

      (shrugs)

      • Doug Langley

        ISWYDT

    • doktorzoom

      If that’s the corrosive kind, that’s a violation of the commenting rules.

      If it’s the hallucinogenic kind, it’s probably less likely to provide a warped view of reality than the original text.

      • msanthropesmr

        I read it as hallucinogenic, mainly because it’s the only way that book could be made readable. And even then.

        • doktorzoom

          The other involves orcs.

          • msanthropesmr

            Although I will put Ethan Frome up there for torturing the reader as much as Ayn Rand…(shudders)

          • Carpe Vagenda

            Not to mention being the spiritual ancestor of every lifetime movie ever made.

          • Gosala

            Orcs rule. Hobbits drool.

            (I may be a little mixed up about that)

      • Crank Tango

        Don’t worry, it’s the hallucinogenic kind.

    • ManchuCandidate

      The garbage dump where it belongs.

  • Oblios_Cap

    It’s not like they could relate to a book like “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, in any event.

  • wide_stance_hubby

    How difficult is it to check a book for contraband? Hold by the spine, shake vigorously and fan pages out. Done.

    • cmd resistor

      And run it thru an x-ray machine if you think there’s a metal file in the hard cover. In fact I think some prisons make them tear off the covers or only have paperbacks.

      • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

        Which sounds like a legitimate way to reduce the possibility of inmates having weapons while not depriving them of the right to read.

  • JMP

    Look, these are prisoners; we have to dehumanize them and crush their spirits as much as possible!

    Fuck America.

  • Michael Smith

    I’d like to write a Utopian novel in which a future society is peaceful, prosperous, happy and healthy. A visitor from our time will arrive and marvel at the wonderful society surrounding her. “How have human beings, at long last, accomplished this?” asks she.

    Then she finds out that the future society has, for parts of the day, segregated all persons of “conservative” political leanings into areas where they are told about how all of the society’s enemies are being pummeled into oblivion, all criminals are being tortured, and all ethnic groups they don’t like are being persecuted.

    Their blood-lust satiated for the day, the conservatives are safe to be let back out into society to do their jobs and stay out of the way of actual decision-making.

  • JustPixelz (((ฮฉ)))

    OT: Liddle’ Baby Donnie is answering questions with Norway prime minister. Every answer he gives is about how Hillary is the worst person ever. He will call whoever the Democrats nominate in 2020 “Crooked Hillary”.

    • cmd resistor

      So they just finished and he actually had a normal handshake with her.

  • Stable Genius Jack

    Anyone else watching the press conference? Here’s the TL;DR

    “No collusion. Hillary was weak on military, wanted windmills. Russia’s neato! No collusion. No collusion. DNC colluded with Russia. No collusion.”

    • Spotts1701, Porg Wrangler

      Pull the string and he talks! Of course he only has about 10 phrases.

      • msanthropesmr

        “Pooped pants”

      • Khavrinen

        “There’s a snake in my Hillary’s boot!”

      • cmd resistor

        And waves his little hands!

        • msanthropesmr

          sooo tiny…

    • Thiazin Red

      Jesus that could plausibly be and actual quote.

      • Stable Genius Jack

        He said she was for windmills. Out of nowhere.

        He also said “no collusion” at least 15 times.

        • msanthropesmr

          In 2012 Norway had a wind power electricity production of 1.6 GWh, a small fraction of its total production. The following year it approved spending 20 billion NOK to triple its wind power capacity of ca. 700 MW to more than 2 GW by 2020.[10] In August 2016 construction of the 1 GW Fosen Vind project began. Increased production of power from wind turbines will allow Norway to curtail its domestic consumption of hydroelectricity, which due to being dispatchable is a valuable asset in the international power market. To further curtail its consumption of hydroelectricity, Norway imports electricity when excess wind production in Denmark and the Netherlands drives prices down there. To further develop its use of both cheap wind power and its dispatchable hydropower, Norway is considering new transmission lines to allow for the same trade with Scotland and Germany sometime after 2020.

          • Stable Genius Jack

            Yeah, but “Hillary was for windmills” as though that were a slur?

            Maybe the old man thinks he’s Quixote. Donnie Quixote, tilting at windmills,

          • msanthropesmr

            Donkey Hotay?

          • MynameisBlarney

            It’s Don Quicks Oat.

          • SterWonk

            You think he’s familiar with Quixote? I think you’re vastly overestimating his knowledge of literature.

          • MynameisBlarney

            Those damn tree huggin commies are gonna fuck up everything!

            And by that, I mean, everything for the fossil fuel industry.

        • ChumpsForTrump

          He’s trying to reach the threshold where it becomes true.

    • Michael Smith
      • Stable Genius Jack

        Donnie Quixote.

    • cmd resistor

      I just looked at it without sound because (work). THe PM is standing there quietly and politely while Trump waves his arms around and looks like his usual stupid self.

      • Stable Genius Jack

        Real ‘stable genius’.

        • cmd resistor

          So if he doesn’t drool or fall over on the podium, he gets a gold star for being presidential today.

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            That seems to be the current standard, yes.

          • cmd resistor

            Plus he gets points for not calling the pm overweight

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            Or being hot for her age.

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            I thought I already wrote this but discus ate my comment, And he can tell her she looks “hot for her age.”

    • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

      “Hillary wanted to replace the military with windmills!!!”

      • Stable Genius Jack

        That’s how it sounded.

        I think I had a stroke.

        I smell burnt toast.

  • goonemeritus

    So I guess The Anarchist Cookbook is right out?

  • ariel_gee_398

    So this is dumb for the book banning reasons, but it’s also cruel. If the families of incarcerated individuals can’t ship their own homemade care packages, they’ll need to have a credit card to send packages to their loved ones.
    Not to mention:

    According to the document, people in prison may not receive packages containing fresh fruit or vegetables. Instead, they may only be provided with sugary, starchy or otherwise unhealthy snacks.

    https://www.theroot.com/new-york-dept-of-corrections-puts-severe-restrictions-1821895435

    • MynameisBlarney

      WTF?

      • ariel_gee_398

        It’ll all make sense once you stop thinking of those incarcerated people as people and start thinking them as revenue streams.

    • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

      ….. because x-raying apples to make sure there aren’t blades inside is now impossible?

  • georgiaburning

    Let me guess: one of these “secure vendors” will ship a King James Bible to an inmate for only $82.50. And their corporate headquarters is in Whitefish, Montana.

    • Bad Tom

      How do inmates pay for anything? Families donate, or the inmates work for absurdly low wages, such as $1/day.

      Oh, wait. Some jurisdictions charge inmates for being in jail. When they complete their sentences, they owe the state money.

  • We need some serious prison reform in this country. I’m not saying we have to go full Finland… but we should be a LOT more fucking close to them than we are to medieval Turkish prison.

    • Bigly smart jesterpunk

      But then prison wouldn’t be for punishment and might actually have to deal with reforming people. How would that make them any money?

      • msanthropesmr

        SHIT – you can still make money that way. That’s not the problem. Inherent racism in the system is the problem.

        • Bigly smart jesterpunk

          (To be serious here) But “tough on crime”, a lot of voters are assholes and don’t care what happens to anyone in jail or prison. They don’t think it would ever affect them and want it to be as hard as possible for anyone in prison.

          • msanthropesmr

            Except when the perp is white – and then, there’s sympathy…

            See “opioid epidemic”

      • Of course, your punishment is prison.

        Would you like to go to the beach today? Too bad. You’re in prison. Would you like to go to Disneyworld? Too bad. Prison. Would you like to go back on the streets and murder more people? Well, you’re in prison for life, so you can’t.

        We’re just kind of assholes beyond that.

    • Michael Smith

      How do you enact rational prison reforms when implying that you’d like to see every criminal taken behind the woodshed and shot “like we did in the old days” has become as important an election tradition as kissing babies (and then taking their healthcare away)?

      • Make Congress go on a Scared Straight field trip to the local Supermax?

    • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป
  • Bigly smart jesterpunk

    Adam ruins everything covered prison libraries and how the “tough on crime” bullshit makes it worse for everyone in prison.

    https://vimeo.com/190311923

    • JMP

      They make it worse for everyone in prison by, “Because of its [sic] privacy settings, this video cannot be played here”?

      • Bigly smart jesterpunk

        Click the link and it will play.

    • Goddamn pinko commies won’t let me watch that video in my country. I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA! (It’s not? That’s literally the reason I can’t watch this video? Okay then…)

  • Carpe Vagenda
    • therblig

      what the fuckity fuck is wrong with that dimwitted fuck?

      • Bigly smart jesterpunk

        Everything?

        • Oblios_Cap

          I’m beginning to think he’s lying about being really, really smart…

      • ariel_gee_398

        He doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing and doesn’t care to learn?

      • cmd resistor

        What ISN’T wrong with him?

    • Are we sure she didn’t mean it like, “Hey, thanks for not completely fucking the economy you inherited like you did the casinos.”

      • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

        * (yet)

      • Carpe Vagenda

        nah.

    • ariel_gee_398

      That’s a little bit on the Norwegian PM though – she should know better than to tell Donnie ANYTHING she doesn’t want blurted out in front of cameras or blabbed to Russians.

      • dshwa

        Assuming he didn’t just make that up to brag about how great he’s made the economy

      • sincarne

        You’re assuming she actually said it.

      • Oblios_Cap

        She probably didn’t say that. That sound like one of his regular talking points; i.e. made up.

      • Carpe Vagenda

        I don’t assume she did say it. In my head, he kept pumping her arm and ranting about the Dow until she said something conciliatory to get away.

        • ariel_gee_398

          Is it a sign of respect or disrespect that he only grabbed her arm?

    • ArgieBargie

      For a second, I thought that was a Nazi flag next to Trump.

  • Mr. Blobfish

    Did you see? Trump is wearing his red tie today.

    • msanthropesmr

      Goes well with the cellotape.

      • beatbort

        He’s sending a gang signal to Putin.
        I wonder what it means, though.

  • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

    “limiting package deliveries to prisoners to items purchased and shipped from a limited number of authorized vendors”

    Yeah, it probably has less to do with the material and more about making another buck off the prisoners. Calls from the prison are already something like a dollar a minute, and now book sellers can get in on the action.

    “Bored in prison? You can get the Harry Potter series, for $200 each*.

    *Note: Each book has been divided into three “prison edition” books. Complaints may be directed to the congressman you can no longer vote for, felon.”

  • Spotts1701, Porg Wrangler

    Yes, because denying people any sort of intellectual stimuli is not an 8th Amendment violation or anything.

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      Much like health care, they still have “access” to books. They’ll just cost $80 a pop now. Freedom!

      • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

        And much like health care, the product they’ll actually have “access” to is so shitty nobody else wants it.

  • beatbort

    Oooohhhh, this pisses me off.
    As the author of a book about a famous death row inmate, I know the lifeline that books provide to prisoners. Over the years, in the state where I live, I have often brought boxes of secondhand books to the prison that’s located in my town. However, once the GW Bush Administration came on board, the state’s prison authorities freaked out over “homeland security” and forbade any more boxes of my books. I also sell second hand books over the Internet. But every single book I have sold to a prisoner over the past ten years has been returned by the postal service, with “unable to deliver” stamped onto the package. It’s so fucking sad that this is happening. Prisons take the approach that anything that might give prisoners “ideas” is not good. That’s why TVs are allowed freely in prisons. Anything to keep the prisoners docile and dumb is good.

    • Doug Langley

      Oh yes, staring at FOX 24/7 is so much healthier.

  • WotsAllThisThen

    At least they’ll know all the synonyms of cruel and unusual.

    • beatbort

      OR maybe they can start writing their own books. Man, that would turn some heads in the prison authority. They’d think the endtimes had arrived.

      • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

        Those in charge would just hoover up any profit or benefit to promote bigger and better cruelty.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    No jane Austen? That’s just cruel and unusual.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an incarcerated man in possession of a good deal of time on his hands, must be in want of a Jane Austen novel.

    • Lefty Wright

      Anna Karenina. In the original Russian. Or GTFOH!!

      • Oblios_Cap

        You would think War and Peace would help ease a good portion of a long sentence.

        • Ellie

          I think having to read the Russians is cruel and unusual punishment.

          • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

            It’s cruel and original Crime and Punishment, FIFY.

            Seriously, those books were not bad at all. I mean, Ambien is hideously expensive, after all.

  • Manders

    Oh, look. Another way to make money off prisoners. More people incentivized to keep folks behind bars.

    Grrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt

  • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

    Secure vendor programs do sound like a good idea, since nobody wants rapists and child molesters getting child porn or phones they can harass their victims with, but why not just have groups like Books Through Bars sign agreements or verify they do background checks or something to become certified secure, then? They could agree that their packages might be randomly searched at any time and it’s a one-strike-you’re-out thing.

    • Dr. Rrrrrobotnik

      Because I’m willing to bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that the cost of the books from these “approved vendors” is about to skyrocket.

      • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

        Joke’s on you, my pants don’t have any pockets!

        But yeaaaaaaaaaaaah probably. :|

        • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

          PANTS!??

          • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

            I’m at work and they frown on pantlessness here.

          • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

            Work sucks.

      • georgiaburning

        Becoming an “approved vendor” means $$$. Competition sucks.

    • Sunhead

      Secure vendor programs do sound like a good idea

      It works so well for the telephone system for prisoners phonecalls…
      Like Right-to-Work it is a con job.
      I can pretty much guarantee that there will be profiteering from the designated vendors. There will be relatives or close family friends of the DOCS officials profiting from this.
      This is not about prison safety in any meaningful way.

      • Ali | A Grumpy Cat

        Which I get. In a perfect world, secure vendors would be set up not based on kickbacks or nepotism, but because of organizations that genuinely want to provide items to prisoners in a safe and reliable fashion.

  • Doug Langley

    Wizard of Id:

    “What book did you get for the prisoner?”
    “Great Escapes from Jail.”
    “ARE YOU MAD??”
    “Don’t worry. It’s his autobiography.”

  • Khavrinen

    “The new rule, with the catchy name โ€œDirective 4911A,โ€ ”

    Seems to me that “Directive 451F” would be more appropriate.

    ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451 )

  • Indiepalin

    In Soviet Russia they smuggle cake into prison disguised as machine gun.

  • Scooby

    Usually, when I am reading I’m not fighting or getting high.

    • ((( Augustus )))

      What about getting high and reading? It’s pretty great

      • SDGeoff3

        It depends on the book.

        • ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Mr Canoehead ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

          And the high.

          • SDGeoff3

            Yes, yes!!

  • beatbort

    Books on the approved list:
    “Art of the Deal” by Donald Trump
    “Pray Away the Gay” by Michele Bachmann
    “Sweet Sixteen,” by Judge Roy Moore
    “Shampooing Your Hair Right” by Ivanka Trump-Kushner
    “Eating for Two” by Rep. Blake Farenthold

    • Blackest Noobs

      correction:

      “Eating for Two Jabba the FAT” by Rep. Blake Farenthold

    • Stable Genius Jack

      Needz Moar Mein Kampf.

    • Snark Tank Full of Resistance

      There’s plenty of things to make fun of Farenthold for. Fat shaming still ain’t cool, kids.

    • Bright Bart

      Everyone poops

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      “Eating for Two”

  • georgiaburning

    The idea behind Prosperity Christianity is that Jesus will reward his followers with wealth and good fortune. The flip side is that if you are in prison it’s because Jesus hates you and you must be punished. This is totally against what Jesus is recorded as saying, but it’s consistent with Republican values.

    • Bobathonic

      It fits just fine with “In God We Trust”.

  • Scooby

    Can I read “Canterbury Tales” or is that too bawdy?

    • msanthropesmr

      If they let the bible in…

      “Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.”

      • Bobathonic

        That’s not even the dirtiest part!

        • msanthropesmr

          It’s the only one I know by heart. Except the one about your teeth are like sheep up from the washing…

          • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

            SoS 6:6, right?

            That’s a very obscure reference given that so many folks who might want to be reading that stuff don’t have enough teeth for which it would apply. They won’t get it.

            Nor would said teeth, where present, be a very bright shade of white also too.

          • msanthropesmr

            You got it. I know it specifically for arguing with Christianists that the literal interpretation of the bible is stupid. It’s amazing how little most Christianists know about the bible. I’ve read it all the way through at least once, and it’s a giant mess, obviously written by a bunch of different people. It needed a good editor.

          • LucindathePook

            Was a lovely old Jules Feiffer cartoon on this very subject, a book review of the Bible.

          • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

            I read the damn thing twice after being strongly encouraged by some other christains. After that, I became a militant anti-theist.

            Christains are the followers of the Doctrine of Unintended Consequences and don’t even realize it after all these years.

          • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

            I found it to be a mass of contradictions and I was ten when I first read it all the way through.New Testament is not related to the old at all. And revelations is a glimpse into a madman’s mind.

      • Hamilton ฮฉ, AKA Formerly DN

        That line is overrated. I tried that and I have a permanent limp.

        • msanthropesmr

          “Thy breasts are like puppies, wrestling around in thy sweater”

    • Latverian Diplomat

      The Meth-maker’s Tale might be suspect.

    • ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Mr Canoehead ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

      Reminds me of the Flanders And Swann joke about Sumer Is Icumen In getting on the BBC’s banned list. People were singing “cuckoo” a little too lhudely.

  • Ellie

    I think they will open this up to more vendors for books, but they are trying to be careful, at least I hope so. I would hate to think the PTB in my State have gone completely crackers. The food and goodie thing isn’t anything new. AFAIK, sealed original packaging has been required for decades.

  • Jamespuck

    I have actually done 12 months of county time. We could have books sent from vendors only, most used Amazon. They would open box, look for contraband and then either take the item or del to inmate. Plus had a library with 5000 books, 3 a week allowed. This was 2016.

    • alpacapunchbowl

      I do hope theyโ€™re at least not going to get rid of the libraries (yet).
      Doesnโ€™t make this stunt any less shitty, of course.

      • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

        Nah, they’ll get rid of public libraries first. Bad ratings. Low energy.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    Trump: “What are these prisoners complaining about; I can’t read, and I won the greatest Electoral College victory in history!”
    Pence: “Can’t in this case means ‘not allowed to’ not ‘unable to’ as in your case, sir.”
    Trump: “One word with two meanings? Ridiculous! Draft an executive order banning that immediately!”
    Pence: “Will do. Of course, the order could say anything, and you wouldn’t know the difference…”
    Trump: “You’re fired!”
    Pence: “Yes sir. See you tomorrow sir.”

    • Duncan Tweedy

      Ok that was good now pls write up a pilot get the green light film it and tell me when/where to watch it.

      Well…I’m waiting!

      • Wee Mousie

        A movie about Trump will be a tremendous flop, Just how may people do you think there are who would pay to hear Trump Talk.

  • Doug Langley

    No more books? That’s it. We’ll have to resort to hiding files in cakes:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3b9353f020d24d454b33770a5db7b552ab26fd76b221781e08011982b19a9389.jpg

    • msanthropesmr

      Are those like binders full of women?

      • Doug Langley

        I wish.

        • Bad Tom

          NOBODY talks about binders full of men.
          Sigh.

    • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

      epub or PDF files?

      • Doug Langley

        Floppy disc.

        What?

        • Bad Tom

          Old school.

  • MynameisBlarney
  • Martini A, very stable genius

    Well, that puts an end to that tried and true movie trope where that one smart guy reads all of the legal books and then reps one of his fellow jail mates unfairly imprisoned. Hollywood is gonna be scrambling to rewrite a bunch of scripts.

    • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

      Well, they’re already having to rewrite them without kissing, apparently.

      This is good news for John McCain Peter Falk and Fred Savage!

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74f02aaff21433c500b104f21b15234d813a68488a16767eb32ac2c26e607ca9.jpg

    • (Nasty Girl) Brianna #RESIST

      Only in New York. That leaves 49 other states that can be written about.

    • ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Mr Canoehead ๐Ÿ›ถ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

      Obamacare’s already thrown a wrench in the works. All those “one last heist before I go straight because I have to pay for my mother’s/daughter’s/wife’s operation” scripts are shelved until the GOP can doom thousands to no healthcare but plenty of bad movies.

  • Romance novels???

  • Stable Genius Jack

    I guess Andy Dufresne is out of a job, huh?

    Brooks wasn’t here.

    • WotsAllThisThen

      What’ll it be this week, Red? Another thesaurus?

    • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

      The Count of Monty Crisco. By Alexander Dumass.

      • Stable Genius Jack

        You might like that one. It’s about a prison break.

  • Notreelyhelping

    Well, they better ban writing implements and paper too, because people in prison without books might end up writing them, just to keep from going mad. And thereโ€™s no telling where the Devilโ€™s Ink might lead them.

    • msanthropesmr

      They might write a Twilight fan-fiction that turns into a best seller about sexy times.

      • alpacapunchbowl

        โ€œA best seller about a mentally and physically abusive relationshipโ€
        FIFY

      • Natalie Au Natural Hedonist

        Worst love story, evah!

  • Resistance Fighter Callyson
  • Stable Genius Jack

    Can’t they just smuggle their drugs inside of prison guards like the big boys do?

  • Roadstergal

    But reading books increases empathy, which might decrease recidivism, which would leave those poor for-profit prisons bereft!

  • Red Bird

    Reading leads to thinking. Thinking leads to self confidence. Self confidence leads to success. Success leads to lower profit for old white men with stock in prisons.

    • Wee Mousie

      Lower profit for old white men with stock in prisons leads to get-tough-on-crime legislation, which leads to more draconian laws, which leasd to more police dressed like stormetroopers with sci-fi weaponry, which lead more doors kicked in in the middle of the night, more kids imprisioned for smoking something no more dangerous than cornsilk, which lowers the crowding in schools, which makes teachers more effective, which leads to more programs like No Student Behind Left Unstadardized for Testing, which leads to more time spent learning to pass the test than to learn the curriculum which leads to more illiteracy.

      • Red Bird

        Which leads to less reading which leads to more teen sex which leads to more single mothers which leads to more high school drop outs which leads to more crime. And the circle is closed.

  • BrianW

    Whatever happened to just searching the damn things?

    If it’s anything like the county I worked for (albeit not in NY) the simple answer is: budget cuts.

    • Sunhead

      the simple answer is: budget cuts

      Werd.

  • hudson

    there is still hope that trump will learn how to read, after all!!!

    • Wee Mousie

      I can barely wait for his Dick, Jane and Spot tweets.

  • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

    This is sort of a thing going on in Canada too, where Trudeau’s government wants to implement counter-extremism programs for returning ISIS fighters and those who might have an inclination to go — he wants a system in place to address the underlying causes, like social alienation and mental health issues, as an interventionist and humanitarian approach to preventing future “terrorists-in-the-making” while diffusing the public’s fear that a terrorist incident is likely to happen. Part of this is a countrywide approach outlined in that overblown, heavily misinterpreted M-103 motion to address Islamophobia in Canadian society, which itself fuels extremism. It wasn’t a “Sharia law bill” like the ignorants were saying.

    The Harpercons, of course, let the hate flow through them and just want everyone who’s ever been to Syria thrown in the hole and left to rot. They don’t ever want anyone to admit that maybe, just maybe, being racist against an entire group of people for the actions of a few disturbed members of that group fuels a victimization complex, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and a vicious circle that leads to more widespread panic and racist hysteria. Just lock ’em in Gitmo and throw away the key.

    Hopefully their next step will be mental-health interventions for the terrorist hate group known as the Snow GOP.

    • (Nasty Girl) Brianna #RESIST

      The Harpercons are still a thing in Canada?

  • Wee Mousie

    Are those fourteen religious text from fourteen different religions, per chance?

    • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

      14 of the 31 two-scoops ice cream flavors of Protestant Christianity.

      • Wee Mousie

        (1)The King James Bible,(2) the King James 2000 Version, (3)the American King James Version, (4)the New American Standard Bible, (5)New American Bible Revised Edition, (6)the New American Bible, (7) the Easy-to-Read Version, (8) the Simple English Bible, (9)the Modern English Version,(10) the Contemporary English Version, (11)the International Standard Version, (12)the New Revised Standard Version, (13) the New Century Version, and (14)the Conservative Bible Project.

        You know! The Word of God!

    • (Nasty Girl) Brianna #RESIST

      Seriously. I’m sure the Baghavad Gita would keep someone busy for several years, at least.

      • BearsEarsDeLaOursistance

        Indeed. A couple guys in the 60s got into something that only vaguely sounded like the Bhagavad-Gita, and it took them eighteen minutes to get out!!

  • The Militant Homosexual Agenda

    Will the romance novels be illustrated by Tom of Finland?

    • Bad Tom

      It would be a step forward.

    • BearsEarsDeLaOursistance

      I love the guy, but he’ll have a hard time stacking up to that shot of Christopher Meloni in “Oz”.

      • The Militant Homosexual Agenda

        I could pull that man right down on top of me!

  • William
  • ๐Ÿ Girl Guide Salute ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿป

    Hey, did anyone see this also, too? “It’s a feature, not a bug”:

    Joe Scarborough asks: Is Trump America’s first “post-literate” president?

    Yeah, I know. Morning Joke is one to talk after having enabled Stupid Howard Beale with free airtime for a whole goddamn year, and then taking his marbles and going home from the Leopards Eating Faces party (in more ways than one I guess, in Zika’s case). But nevertheless, it offers some food for thought. Trump is equal parts the epitome of our bibliophobic tee-vee addled culture as he is a symptom, representation, or even a product of it.

    The Kardashian Klueless Kandidate.

    • Vagenda and Pee-ara

      Scarborough was yapping this AM about how Obama was woefully unprepared for the presidency. Right, that’s why he appeared so calm and presidential all the time, and why the country flourished under his leadership.

      • Lordpnut

        He was a professor of Constitutional law. What good could that ever do for a President?

        • Vagenda and Pee-ara

          Exactly! Why would we want some idiot who was editor of the Harvard Law Review? I’d much rather have a reality TV star who inherited all of his money and runs a fake university and charity. That’s the idiot that Scarborough was friends with, and supported for the presidency.

          • Lordpnut

            …and we were a grabastic mob of illiterate gun-totin’ rednecks who heckled doctors and teachers while big corporations killed our kids, stripped away our fundamental rights, and hauled us off to prison for life AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY…

          • Vagenda and Pee-ara

            “Hell, we even voted for shitty treatment!”

    • Mike Steele

      Enjoy your posts, girl guide, but in this house, we never miss an opportunity to miss J&M.

    • Beelzebubba

      Il Douche was postliterate before it was cool.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    Fake news. The withholding of books is a liberal conspiracy designed to keep African Americans incarcerated, ignorant and voting for Demoncraps. Just think about it. 77 books? 77 books? Okay, I guess I have to break it down for you uneducated types. What’s the 8th letter? H. So 88 = Heil Hitler. Now do you see? No? Okay. So the Klan hates the Nazis, so what letter is K? Eleven, that’s right. So what are Nazis without the Klan’s intellectual input? That’s right, liberals. So, 88 (Nazis) – 11 (Klan Intellectual History) = 77. 77 books. See. It’s clear as the nose on my face.

    • mardam422

      Unassailable!!!

    • Bitter Scribe

      Are you a researcher for Infowars?

      • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

        Freelancer. You know, part of the gig economy.

        • Bitter Scribe

          Boy, do I ever know.

          • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

            It’s the reason I spend so much time here on Wonkette.

          • Bitter Scribe

            Ditto.

    • phoenix00

      Chemtrails. There are always chemtrails.

    • Lordpnut

      I see it now…the reason I’m a broke-dick redneck with a shrinking future is those goddamned immigrants and liberals stealing what’s rightfully mine.

  • William

    Overwhelming https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/58030859b2db9e45a5d2086bf51f29ad0e98ca69491c7fb544ef0972a3ce02d9.jpg evidence that you just can’t trust a convict with a Bible.

    • Vagenda and Pee-ara

      Or just look at Jim Baker.

  • rg9rts

    you can’t make this stuff up….what next??? book burning for heat in the prisons??I’m sure the ACLU will have something to say about it

  • susan_g

    Someone suggested that shipped books could be inspected by prison guards before giving them to inmates but the authorities don’t want the guards to get into the habit of occasionally cracking open a book.

    • Mentally Stable Ron

      It’s okay, most of ’em won’t know what it is anyway.

  • Zombishroom

    Last line made me think of this.
    https://youtu.be/Pj-GIAACClc

  • BrendaKay

    Why can’t Books Through Bars be an approved vendor? This is just despicable. Anyone else read “A Colony in a Nation” by Chris Hayes? Also too – documentary “13th” directed by Ava DuVernay is heart breaking look at the US prison industry.

  • h4rr4r

    This is more about money.
    Odds that the guards or the private prison industry are investing in secure vendors?

    • Bitter Scribe

      Nothing like a captive audience.

  • Begin Anew Day

    Chapter 189

    A Fly In The Soup

    The two royal accountants approached King Conan and stood at attention.

    The King, escorted by the warden and the captain of the prison guard,had been inspecting the Royal Prison for almost five hours now. He had examined the cells and had sampled the food. He had toured every nook and cranny of the dismal fortress from the lowest, rat swarmed, dungeons to the warden’s luxurious office suite. While he had been doing this his accountants had made a thorough examination of the prison ledgers. They had now caught up to the King as he was touring the “kitchen”.

    King Conan acknowledged them with a nod.

    “Make your report.”

    “It is our sad duty, your majesty, to inform you that the information you received of waste and fraud here are completely substantiated by the account ledgers. We recommend you turn this matter over to your Overseer Attorney General immediately.”

    “Thank you. You may go.”

    The royal accountants withdrew as the King now turned to the warden.

    “Tell me warden, do you think that I led a rebellion to topple the tyrant to help you turn human beings, whatever their faults, into vermin; to make men sleep in filth, to torture them, to feed them slop and make them drink sewage? Do you think I suffered and struggled and bled so that you could treat people like this?”

    The warden started to stammer and even glance around for some escape, some place to scurry to where Conan’s bone freezing scowl did not reach. But there was no place such as that in this filthy “kitchen”.

    With an oath the King pounced upon the warden and dragged him over to a nearby cauldron where some greasy stew bubbled. With effortless strength the King ducked the warden’s head into the foul broth! And then the King simply stood there while the warden struggled to raise his head.

    While the warden drowned the King now turned his glare to the captain of the guards.

    “Assemble your men. Bid them come and taste this dish I have prepared for them. Tonight they will eat from this pot till every last drop is gone.”

    • Unsaintific

      Hotdamn!
      The a-holes behind the new book regulation are barbaric than Conan!

      P.S: Thanks for that.
      Now I feel like reading some sword and sorcery pulp.

  • Bitter Scribe

    For Christ’s sake, even Stalin’s gulags allowed prisoners to receive packages from home.

  • Kooolest G

    maybe they’re trying to pull the same shit NJ just did. they banned a book called โ€œThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,โ€ by Michelle Alexander until the ACLU freaked out and they had to unban it. anyway why don’t they just allow each inmate to have a kindle, awfully hard to smuggle anything in a download

    • Beelzebubba

      They might not want to allow all books. “Prison Murder for Dummies” and that sort of thing.

  • That’s some catch, that Catch-4911A. The best there is.

  • harryeagar

    New York just, very late, catching up with other prison administrators. My couny’s jail has run this way for years.

  • Stulexington

    Also would have accepted an “I haet buks” prison tat as the main picture.

  • Mike Steele

    Great, Dok…just as fixed income necessitates that we pare back a bit on numerous charities, you come up with another that grabs you by the gut…

  • Beelzebubba

    What part of being a “secure vendor” limits the offerings to 77 titles?
    I’m pretty sure Amazon doesn’t pack weapons, drugs, or phones into the books they ship.

    • Lordpnut

      It’s a not-so-clever way to skirt constitutional issue and maximize the potential for corruption.

  • BearsEarsDeLaOursistance

    Man… along comes this story, just when I was having second thoughts about wanting to gerrymander the ever-loving shit out of Archiebunkerstan (d/b/a “Rill Murrka”).

    Just kidding. I wasn’t ever having second thoughts about that.

  • Tired Brit

    This was tried here in the UK a while back, until “a high court judge ruled that restricting [prisoners’] access to books was unlawful and said they were essential to a prisonerโ€™s rehabilitation.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/12/ban-friends-and-family-sending-books-prison-prisoners-lifted-grayling

    • cogitoergodavesum

      In the UK, rehabilitation is an important part of the justice system.
      In the US private prison system, it just discourages customers from becoming repeat customers.

  • Lordpnut

    It’s just the latest example of free market capitalism to break its chain and become uncontrollable. Those greedy born-rich craven gop fucks are directly responsible. Oh and anyone worth less than several million who’s stupid enough to vote for them.

  • Relativicus

    โ€œFurthermore, it is patently false to suggest that individuals in DOCCS custody will not have access to books, magazines, or other literature.โ€

    That feels a lot like โ€œEveryone will still have access to healthcare without Obamacare…โ€

  • Unsaintific

    14 religious books?๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰๐Ÿ™Š

  • Trump’s Potemkin Village

    14 religious texts….hmmmm…..let me guess….Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series?

  • ThatDale

    At least in Georgia, Amazon is one of the vendors. I can understand wanting to guarantee the “innocence” of a package, but not having the major booksellers as vendors is ridiculous.

  • Liddle’ Big Puppy

    This seriously pisses me off.

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