COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- The movement to ban books and other reading materials in public institutions across the United States has been on the rise in recent years.
But, schools and libraries are not the only places where restrictions are placed on what people can read. It is also happening in prison systems nationwide, including in South Carolina.
The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization focused on criminal justice, created a state-by-state database that shows which books incarcerated individuals are not allowed to read.
The report found that 1,510 books and magazines are banned from South Carolina prisons.
While specific reasons were not given for each title, the Marshall Project determined that most prisons cited sex and nudity, promotion of violence and criminal activity, and general “security” concerns as top factors.
According to Federal Bureau of Prisons regulations, publications can only be rejected if they are found to be “detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or if it might facilitate criminal activity.”
Similarly, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) policy states that a book or magazine issue that “poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution” can be withheld.
These materials include but are not limited to those which mention violence, glorify crime, provide information on contraband or escape, contain obscenities and sex, and “advocate racial, religious, or national hatred in such a way that could lead to the risk of physical violence or group disruption.”
Among the titles banned in South Carolina prisons are the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, Adolf Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf,” and the “Cannabis Encyclopedia.” Various memoirs and biographies are also restricted, including those of rappers Lil Wayne, Ice-T, and Tupac Shakur.
Other items include an adult activity book, books about yoga poses, survival books, military training manuals, and certain editions of magazines such as “Rolling Stone,” “Cosmopolitan,” “Men’s Health,” “Sports Illustrated,” and “National Geographic.”
According to an SCDC spokesperson, a magazine issue can be prohibited if it contains information that does not meet the agency’s policy standard. Other editions of that same magazine may be allowed, however.
Click here for the full list of banned books in South Carolina prisons.