More proof the American Civil Liberties Union is on crack: they are supporting a lawsuit filed by inmates to revert a recent decision made by Indiana’s Department of Corrections to ban sexually explicit magazines, letters, etc (CNN story).
Fortunately Java Ahmed from the IDoC isn’t just bowing to the lawsuit: “We don’t have any current plans to make any changes. If throughout the process the court says it’s constitutionally inappropriate, we would do so, but we don’t think it’s unconstitutional.”
Criminals voluntarily give up lots of rights the rest of us have guaranteed to us by the very act of committing their crime. People in jail for murder, rape, theft, drug possession, or anything else, have no reasonable, definable need to have access to pornography. They’re supposed to be paying back society in some fashion for their crimes, not sitting in a health spa fantasizing about Miss November or Pet of the Year – at least not with those pictures in front of them.
I have a problem with prisons providing anything beyond basic living needs to inmates: they don’t need a gym, cable TV, special catering, or girlie magazines. They need to sit in their cell and think about what they’ve done. They should perhaps be put to work doing useful things in their area (North Carolina utilizes lower-risk inmates to clean up the highways). I also think they should be allowed to read novels, historical accounts, biographies, religious works, etc. Low-risk inmates could be encouraged to take distance education classes, hopefully to help them stay out the system in the future.
There is no reason to make life easy on inmates: they are convicted felons, and need to be punished – not rewarded. Chain gangs were great ways to get work done basically for free. Outside of a given warden’s abuse of his authority, there is no better way to utilize otherwise waste time of those criminals than by making them do real work.
Imbibing pornography is not punishment. Criminals who are focusing time and energy on porn are probably also fantasizing about doing something to those girls (or guys). Rapists, murderers, and other criminals don’t need extra fuel for their minds to work on while they’re in prison. They need to be punished.