South Dakota Reps Hate Porn, Make Prisons Explicit Free

South Dakota Reps Hate Porn, Make Prisons Explicit Free

SOUTH DAKOTA HATES PORN SO MUCH, PRISONS BAN EXPLICIT MATERIAL LIKE YOGA

Some people really think that prisoners shouldn’t have any rights.  But just because they’re in prison, they do still have rights.  That doesn’t mean massages and pedicures every other Saturday.  But it does mean they still have 1st Amendment rights to free speech.  They also should be able to receive mail like books on yoga, or on Michelangelo’s works.  But lawmakers in South Dakota really don’t feel the same way.  In fact, South Dakota Reps passes two bans on porn in prisons.  But the most recent one considers yoga books and Michelangelo’s nudes to be porn, too.  They have explicit feelings about what is explicit.  And a lot seems to be explicit.  They really hate porn.

ACLU CHALLENGES BAN AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, VIOLATES 1ST AMENDMENT

This is an issue today because a federal appeals panel has requested that a district judge issue a decision.  About what?  About if it’s unconstitutional that South Dakota has imposed a ban on porn in all prisons in the state.  This came about because one prisoner was denied access to the yoga and Michelangelo books.  Why?  Because they are deemed explicit and a violation of the porn ban.  So this has prompted the National Coalition Against Censorship as well as the South Dakota ACLU to file joint amicus briefs challenging the ban.  They seem to have a point.

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PRISONERS CAN’T SENT OR RECEIVE ANYTHING PRISONS SAY IS EXPLICIT

The prisoner mentioned here is one Charles Sisney.  Sisney is serving a life sentence from a murder conviction back in 1997.  South Dakota passed one porn ban in prisons in 2000.  But they passed an even more severe ban in 2014.  The 2014 ban also prohibits prisoners from writing or receiving explicit material.  That means written or visual.  Sisney’s lawyers, appropriately enough, are arguing that the ban violates his First Amendment rights to send and receive mail.  But it could be further argued that the ban also violates the rights of anyone who may write letters to prisoners.  If the prison decides something is explicit, they ban it.  I don’t remember prison wardens being mentioned as arbiters of Free Speech in the Constitution.

Steven Morrison is a constitutional scholar and law professor who presented arguments of the case in court.  He said, “Prisoners do not give up their First Amendment rights. If a prison can show that restricting material protected by the First Amendment is related to a penological interest such as security or safety, the courts tend to give wide discretion to prisons, as they should.  But there’s no evidence of that in this case. It is literally unprecedented. The policy prohibits an entire class of speech, sexually explicit content, and goes beyond that. There are no exceptions.”  That’s kind of a scary precedent to allow unchallenged, right?  These Reps hate porn so much, they even want to censor people.

SOUTH DAKOTA, FLORIDA DECLARED PORN A PUBLIC HEALTH RISK

The courts will give a decision sometime soon.  But South Dakota prisons align pretty much lockstep with the state’s lawmakers.  Just last year, South Dakota Reps called porn a public health risk.  They said it causes harm to men, women and children.  That seems a bit out there.  But the same happened in Florida.  They voted for the same resolution on the very same day they didn’t ban assault weapons.  But we’ll see what happens. Gun channels are leaving YouTube for Pornhub!  What will South Dakota gun owners do?  I guess they’ll have to harm themselves with porn for gun safety.  But meanwhile, Michelangelo and yoga is considered porn in the state’s prisons.

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