Iowa Inmates Fight Pornography Ban

They say it also includes fine art, literature
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2019 12:04 AM CST
Iowa Inmates Fight Pornography Ban
A view of a cell pod at the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.   (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Mary Willie)

Inmates in an Iowa state prison are fighting a new regulation that declares no nudes are good nudes. The inmates, who are suing the state, say a policy banning pornography is too broad and violates their constitutional rights. The statute states that Iowa Department of Corrections funds should not be used to make available "commercially published information or material to an inmate when such information or material is sexually explicit or features nudity." The inmates, who concede that "no one has a right to pornography," argue that the ban includes fine art and literature that features nudity, and say it is clear the department also plans to confiscate material bought privately.

At a hearing Thursday, in which Anamosa State Penitentiary inmates participated over the phone, Assistant Attorney General William Hill argued that the case should be dismissed immediately because it is "common sense that pornography in a prison is a bad idea," Courthouse News reports. Inmate Jack Leonard Hays countered that "not everybody considers nudity obscene." Polk County District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg said he would decide later on whether the case should be thrown out. The statute, which was enacted last year, also banned the "pornography reading rooms" that had been in some prisons since the late 1980s, reports the Des Moines Register. (These Ohio inmates stored porn on computers they stashed in a ceiling.)

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