Lists of banned books acquired by MuckRock through public records requests show that Ohio and Michigan prisons ban books that aim to teach computer programming skills. Their decisions to ban educational texts related to programming, alongside erotica and literature published by neo-nazi groups, are in stark contrast with practices in other states and countries, where prisons include coding in educational programs.
Michigan Department of Correction’s 60 page long list of books banned in state prisons, acquired by MuckRock through a public records request, includes 43 that are prohibited for “advocating racial supremacy.” These titles include Mein Kampf, The Turner Diaries, and, alarmingly, Black Skin, White Masks, by post-colonial theorist Frantz Fanon. Michigan DOC’s ban on an important anti-colonial text is one reminder of the inconsistent, and potentially biased, book banning practices that exist in prisons across the United States.
Brigadier General Edwin Black is best known for his role in the Nugan-Hand scandal, in which the Australian bank was accused of being used by the Central Intelligence Agency for narcotics and arms trafficking and money laundering purposes. To learn more about the scandal, Emma Best filed FOIA requests for all the people associated with it, and General Black’s file reveald two things: First, the FBI file’s only mention of his ties to Nugan-Hand is in the form of a Wall Street Journal clipping. Second, Hoover’s FBI briefly investigated him for being a librarian.
At Guantanamo Bay, detainees, awaiting hearings that may never come, have access to a 35,000-item detainee library. But while that library is primarily filled by donations, its acceptance criteria and process - and even its current catalogue - are strange open secrets, viewable in glimpses but guarded against full disclosure.
When a parent in Connecticut read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” he found its descriptions of the high school experience “inappropriate.” Other parents felt that it was his request for its removal is what was really inappropriate.