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Prisons Ban Pornography

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(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

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By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — No more porn for Connecticut inmates — at least as of this time next year.

Department of Correction Commissioner Leo Arnone announced Monday that he has informed inmates that possession of sexually explicit material will be banned in the state’s prisons as of June 30, 2012. Postings were made in housing units starting last Friday.

Brian Garnett, an agency spokesman, said the DOC has been discussing the issue of how to handle pornography for more than year. Arnone, who became the commissioner last fall, expressed concern about the material when he took on the top job and wanted to see how other states deal with porn in prisons.

“It’s of concern when it comes to the basic safety and security of the facilities in terms of rehabilitation of the offender,” Garnett said. “We’ve got a lot of sexual offenders and this is obviously not material that a sexual offender should be engaged in if they’re trying to be rehabilitated.”

Even though inmates are not allowed to keep their explicit material openly displayed, Garnett said it is often stashed inside footlockers and can also create a difficult working environment for staff, especially female officers, whenever an inmate’s belongings are searched.

“It creates a hostile work environment for our staff, which is exposed to it on a daily basis,” Arnone said in a written statement. “We have done a review of how other states around the country have handled the issue and believe that an overall ban is the most appropriate approach.”

Under current regulations, inmates can have sexually explicit material as long as it does not depict children, bestiality, sadomasochism or the use of force.

Offenders are being given a year to allow their current subscriptions, such as X-rated magazines, to expire. They’ll also have a year to get rid of any material they currently possess. Garnett said inmates cannot purchase printed sexually explicit material at the prisons. They’re also not allowed to receive any explicit videos in the mail.

After June 30, 2012, any inmate found with porn will have it confiscated. The offender will be face disciplinary action.

Garnett said DOC learned that rules concerning sexually explicit material in prisons vary from state to state, saying “it’s all over the map.” Some states, he said, have complicated definitions about what’s allowed and what’s not. He said the commissioner determined that an outright ban was most appropriate.

“When you try to define something today, it’s going to change tomorrow,” Garnett said. “It’s very difficult to define what is acceptable and what isn’t.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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