UK High Court rules prison book ban unlawful

UK High Court rules prison book ban unlawful

[JURIST] The High Court of Justice of England and Wales [official website] has declared [ruling, pdf] that the government’s ban on sending books to prisoners in England is unlawful. Current rules prevent prisoners from receiving parcels unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a medical condition. Justice Collins called the ban “unnecessary and irrational” and highlighted the importance of books for the prisoners. The book ban was introduced in England last November partly to control the entry of drugs into prisons. The challenge was brought by inmate Barbara Gordon-Jones, who is serving a life sentence.

The UK was not the only country to have banned the act of sending books to prisoners. In 2010 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, pdf; press release] that challenged a South Carolina detention center rule that banned all books sent to prisoners. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Prison Legal News [advocacy website] against the Berkeley County Detention Center [official website] in Moncks Corner for First and Fourteenth Amendment [texts] violations.