‘Game of Thrones’ Banned in Texas Prisons, But Not Hitler
In a strange distinction, the Game of Thrones book series is banned by Texas prisons, but Hitler's works and some of the Fifty Shades books are allowed.
As reported by the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will ban a book for several reasons, including:
- Information on the manufacture of explosives, weapons and/or drugs.
- "Material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption," like strikes or riots.
- "Graphic presentations" of illegal sex acts, "such as rape, incest, sex with a minor, bestiality, necrophilia or bondage."
- Sexually explicit images. "Naked or partially covered buttocks" does not constitute reason for automatic disapproval. Staff review medical journals, reference materials, art books and other publications containing nudity on a case-by-case basis.
- Information on criminal schemes or "how to avoid detection of criminal schemes."
- The binding or cover of the book can be used to hide contraband.
Due to this criteria, some strange books can be banned. The Color Purple, the Game of Thrones series, The Walking Dead graphic novels, Where's Waldo? Santa Spectacular, Homer Simpson's Little Book of Laziness, and Monty Python's Big Red Book are among the more than 10,000 books on the banned list (FULL LIST). However, books written by Hitler and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke are on the approved list. And some of the Fifty Shades books are approved as only the depiction of illegal sexual acts will result in the book's banning.
Though there are guidelines in place for what is and is not allowed, the execution of the banning in said to be very arbitrary, resulting in books of Shakespeare sonnets being banned, but The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler getting a pass.
ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke argues that banning of books is merely censorship, saying,
There is no excuse in our opinion for banning books in the prisons. None at all.
There's a lot of rights prisoners give up, but they shouldn't have to give up that one. Adolf Hitler and David Duke should be there just as much as Salman Rushdie and Alice Walker.
Jason Clark, TDCJ deputy chief of staff, gave examples of why seemingly innocent publications will be banned, such as maps banned as they could be used to help escape, and home improvement guides can assist prisoners in creating something that will pose a threat to staff. And though books can be banned for racial content if its determined they were "written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption," Clark confirmed that books from radical leaders like Hitler and Duke do not violate their rules.