The New Jim Crow Book Banned From Some New Jersey Prisons

By: Jon Swaine of The Guardian

An acclaimed book about discrimination against African Americans in the criminal justice system has been banned from some prisons in New Jersey, according to newly obtained records.

The New Jim Crow, an award-winning book by Michelle Alexander published in 2010, appears on lists of publications that inmates in state correctional facilities may not possess.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the banned book lists in response to a public records request, called for the ban to be lifted and said it violated the rights of inmates under the first amendment to the US constitution.

In a letter due to be sent on Monday to Gary Lanigan, New Jersey’s corrections commissioner, the ACLU said the ban was particularly troubling because the state had the country’s widest disparity between white and black incarceration rates.

“For the state burdened with this systemic injustice to prohibit prisoners from reading a book about race and mass incarceration is grossly ironic, misguided, and harmful,” Tess Borden, an ACLU staff attorney, said in the letter.

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