Prisoners Sue Over Religious Book Limits

In the wake of post-9/11 crackdown, First Amendment concerns arise
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2007 2:49 PM CDT
Some outraged inmates have already filed a class-action suit arguing that the banning of the materials violates the first-amendment rights of prisoners.   (
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(Newser) – The removal of  hundreds of thousands of  religious books  from federal prison libraries is drawing fire—not just from inmates, but from chaplains and other religious leaders. In the wake of 9/11, the Bureau of Prisons issued an approved list of religious books for institutions it controls, the Times reports, to eliminate those advocating radicalism or violence.

The bureau ordered the removal of books not included on the list but hasn't funded replacements or released the names of the experts who compiled the list. Chaplains say the regulations are so broad that they infringe upon prisoners' rights to practice religion, and many libraries have been gutted. Two prisoners in upstate New York have brought a a First Amendment lawsuit against the bureau.