Monday, February 28, 2011

"The Secret Death Penalty" in Texas prisons; also, nothing to read.

Striking phrase, that one about a "secret death penalty". The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) is using it on a report out this month about deaths from medical neglect.

It being a short distance from the grim to the absurd and vice versa, I found the above via Prison Law Blog's item on the Texas Tribune's report on TCRP's other Februrary opus, about books you can and can't read in Texas prisons.

There's a copy of the Texas banned books list over here. Per the Tribune, Texas prisoners are allowed to read Hitl*r, but not an edition of Shakespeare's poetry that has a nekkid picture on the cover. Other banned books, from my own quick glance at the list, include not just the likes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Popular Mechanics: Home Wiring (both of these banned on sex grounds, go figure), but also The Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns; Egyptology; Principles of Surgery; Flaubert's Salammbo; Vermeer: The Complete Paintings; Freud for Beginners; Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and George Orwell's anti-colonialist classic Burmese Days (this last banned for "racial content"). Charles Bukowski's Post Office was allowed on appeal. Funny old world.

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