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NY Prisons Rescind Policy to Censor Incarcerated Writers and Artists

One day after a report exposed a new rule in New York state prisons to block block incarcerated writers and artists from publishing their work, the state dropped the plan, New York Focus reports. The original directive established a stringent approval process for people in New York state prisons to publish creative work, including books, art, music, poetry, film scripts, and other writing, outside prison walls. Prison superintendents also had the power to block the publication of work that violated a number of broad rules, including portraying the prison department in a way that could “jeopardize safety or security.” Incarcerated people were also prohibited from getting paid for their creative work. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision had told New York Focus that it planned to apply the restrictions to journalism, which wasn’t mentioned in the directive. In a statement first reported by HuffPost and The Marshall Project, DOCCS claimed that the directive “is not being interpreted as the Department intended” and that “it was never our objective to limit free speech or creative endeavors.” The department also said that it will “engage … stakeholders to revise the policy.”


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