Resolution on Prisoners' Right to Read

An excerpt from Library Standards for Adult correctional Institutions (1992), page 28


Resolution on Prisoners' Right to Read

WHEREAS, The right to read is a fundamental concern of the American Library Association; and

WHEREAS, Censorship is a problem for many prisoners and for librarians providing materials and information for prisoners; and

WHEREAS, Several states have statutes or regulations regarding prisoners' right to read, as California Penal Code Section 2601(c), which provides that prisoners have the right: to purchase, receive, read, and permit other inmates to read any and all legal materials, newspapers, periodicals, and books accepted for distribution by the United States Post Office, except those which describe the making of any weapon, explosive, poison or destructive device. Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the right of prison authorities (1) to open and inspect any and all packages received by an inmate, and (2) to establish reasonable restrictions as to the number of newspapers, magazines, and books that the inmate may have in his cell or elsewhere in the prison at one time.

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urge that legislation and/or administrative regulations similar to California Penal Code Section 2601(c) be secured in all states without such provisions; and Further,

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association shall transmit a copy of this resolution to the Intellectual Freedom and Legislation Committees of all ALA state chapters, urging them to work with agencies and persons concerned with prisoners' right to read to secure similar legislation and/or administrative regulations.


Read the American Library Associations Prisoners Right to Read (An interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights)