Tell Prison Officials to End Book Ban in Berkeley County Detention Center
  • Petitioned Wayne Dewitt

This petition was delivered to:

Berkeley County Sheriff
Wayne Dewitt
Berkeley County Council Chair, Supervisor
Dan Davis
Berkeley County Councilman
Phillip Farley
Berkeley County Councilman
Robert O. Call

Tell Prison Officials to End Book Ban in Berkeley County Detention Center

    1. Nadra Kareem Nittle
    2. Petition by

      Nadra Kareem Nittle

      Los Angeles, CA

There’s no library at South Carolina’s Berkeley County Jail and only one book that inmates may read—the Bible. But that’s not all. Inmates there are forbidden to read newspapers and magazines, to boot.

“Prisoners who are incarcerated for extended periods of time have been deprived of access to magazines, newspapers and books – other than the Bible – for months or even years on end,” stated the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of its lawsuit filed in October against the jail for violating inmates’ constitutional rights. On May 2, a federal judge permitted the U.S. Justice Department to join the ACLU’s lawsuit as well.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of a monthly periodical called Prison Legal News. Issues of the magazine and books, such as Protecting Your Health and Safety, which informs prisoners of their rights, have reportedly been returned to sender in recent years because of the jail’s Bible-only policy. Prison officials responded to the suit by claiming to have only banned reading materials containing staples and nudity, but the ACLU recently filed a new motion arguing that the detention center sells legal pads with staples in them. So, the issue isn’t about staples but about censorship, the ACLU posits.

"There is no justification for denying detainees access to periodicals and in the process cutting them off from the outside world,” ACLU attorney David Shapiro told British newspaper the Guardian

Tell the officials of Berkeley County, S.C., to say no to censorship. Inmates should be allowed to read a variety of works to hone their literacy skills and be informed citizens once they return to society.  

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      Judge mulls halting mail policies at Bible-only SC jail while federal lawsuit moves forward

    2. Reached 1 signatures
    3. Benjamin Joffe-Walt
      Vice President and Chief of Staff

      ACLU and DoJ Suing Prison Over Ban on Most Printed Media

    4. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      There will be a preliminary hearing on this case later this month

    5. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      Jail book policy too strict: Material that isn't Bible not a threat

    6. Reached 250 signatures
    7. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      Ex-federal warden says Berkeley County's Bible-only policy more strict than Supermax prison

    8. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      Nationwide, the works of Toni Morrison, Sojourner Truth and even Shakespeare have reportedly been banned in prisons.

    9. Reached 100 signatures
    10. Weldon Kennedy
      Managing Director, Europe

      SC jail's Bible-only rule at center of lawsuit

    11. Reached 50 signatures
    12. Benjamin Joffe-Walt
      Vice President and Chief of Staff

      Justice Dept officials visiting Berkeley County jail to discuss Bible-only policy with inmates

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Stewart Jenkins WESTMINSTER, CO
      • about 3 years ago

      Only the Bible? That disgusts me

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Wes Robinson MESA, AZ
      • about 3 years ago

      Way to go Berkeley County, finally someone who treats thugs like thugs!!! gotta love it!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Shawn Stogner SAINT MARYS, GA
      • about 3 years ago

      I understand that they have committed crimes and are criminals but everyone should be allowed to read or learn to read(if they can't). This is America and I thought banning books and such was illegal. My mistake. Guess this is not the America I thought it was. Seems we are going farther back into the Dark Age again.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mae Chamberlain UNION, SC
      • over 3 years ago

      Promoting illiteracy in prisons by banning books does not make sense. I am an English teacher in South Carolina and my belief is that it is illiteracy which causes a high drop-out rate and a high crime rate the two are related. Illiteracy is also directly related to poverty, which leads to high crime rates. This ban on all written materials except the Bible goes against all reason.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Adrian Dominic Saenz PHOENIX, AZ
      • over 3 years ago

      Someone's jealous . . .

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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