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Wed Jan 10, 2018, 02:55 PM

New Jersey Prisons Reverse Course on Banning 'The New Jim Crow' After ACLU of New Jersey Letter

Source: ACLU of New Jersey

New Jersey Prisons Reverse Course on Banning The New Jim Crow After ACLU of New Jersey Letter

By Tess Borden, Staff Attorney, ACLU of New Jersey
JANUARY 10, 2018 12:45 PM

Michelle Alexander dedicates her book, The New Jim Crow, to the people who have been swept up by Americas racist criminal justice system. You may be locked up or locked out of mainstream society, but you are not forgotten. For the first time, all prisoners across New Jersey can read her words.

The ACLU of New Jersey learned that The New Jim Crow was banned as a matter of official policy in at least two prisons: New Jersey State Prison and Southern State Correctional Facility. On Monday, we sent [link:https://www.aclu-nj.org/files/3215/1542/0412/2018_01_08_newjimcrow.pdfa letter] to the Department of Corrections commissioner telling him that the ban was not only unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment, but also that it was a deeply disturbing policy, especially since New Jersey has the worst racial disparities in incarceration in the entire country.

Hours after receiving our letter, the DOC announced it was lifting the ban. It further committed to review its policy and all current lists of banned materials for appropriate revision. We commend the DOCs quick action, but even as we celebrate the return of The New Jim Crow to prison shelves, we must not be distracted from the work that remains to be done.

Lifting the ban in no way undoes the reality that made it so appalling in the first place. New Jersey still incarcerates its Black residents at a rate 12 times higher than its white residents, making New Jersey the most racially unjust incarcerator in the United States. Communities of color are still being targeted by the police. Families are being torn apart by incarceration. And tens of thousands of New Jerseyans are living with the collateral consequences of conviction, blocked from accessing the voting booth, jury service, public benefits, housing and employment opportunities, and literally thousands of other rights and benefits. ... In our letter, we asked for corrective action and a response from the DOC by January 24. Were pleased the DOC didnt need that long. But New Jersey policymakers should take this as a call to engage in a long-term, broad effort toward decarceration, with a goal of ending racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Read more: https://www.aclu.org/blog/prisoners-rights/civil-liberties-prison/new-jersey-prisons-reverse-course-banning-new-jim-crow

I'm not sure allowing that one book into the New Jersey prison system rises to the level of LBN, but with all this talk of banning books, I am reminded that the struggle never ends.

Criminal justice reform is inseparable from racial justice. When two prisons unconstitutionally banned The New Jim Crow, @ACLUNJ fought back and won.

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Reply New Jersey Prisons Reverse Course on Banning 'The New Jim Crow' After ACLU of New Jersey Letter (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Jan 2018 OP
BumRushDaShow Jan 2018 #1
erronis Jan 2018 #2
MyOwnPeace Jan 2018 #3

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 03:32 PM

1. Joe Madison had been discussing this on his SiriusXM show this week

and there was a huge push from the activists that he knows and works with to support the ACLU effort to get the ban lifted.

The NYT article mentioned this -

On Monday, the department said that the ban had been lifted in all facilities, noting that there had never been a departmentwide ban on the book. It also said it was reviewing its policy on allowed texts and “all current lists of banned written materials.”

The department noted that the book was used by the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education Program, which allows inmates to enroll in college-level courses.

Asked why the ban was lifted, Matthew Schuman, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, said it was because “officials determined that the book should not have been banned, as evidenced by the fact that it is being utilized as a teaching tool for NJ-STEP students.”

Mr. Schuman did not answer questions about why the book was banned in the first place.


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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 03:36 PM

2. Bravo! Exposure and the hard work of the ACLU and people with conscious does work!

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 03:56 PM

3. ACLU - YEA!!!!!

We need to support them - they work for the 99%!

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