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  • Monty Python’s Big Red Book Banned in Texas Prisons

    Books including The Color Purple, Freakonomics and Monty Python’s Big Red Book are banned in Texas state prisons by the Texas department of criminal justice, on behalf of thousands of inmates.

    Also among the forbidden are a collection of Shakespeare sonnets, Where’s Waldo? Santa Spectacular and Homer Simpson’s Little Book of Laziness. Satan’s Sorcery Volume I and 100 Great Poems of Love and Lust are allowed, as is James Battersby’s The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler, which is described on Amazon.com as “the Bible of neo-Nazism and of esoteric Hitlerism”.

    What is or is not permissible in Texas prisons is largely decided by mailroom staff. Content and imagery are only part of the criteria applied; many books are banned because their bindings or covers could be used to smuggle contraband. For obvious reasons, maps are also banned.

    Reasons for a book to be banned include: information on the manufacture of explosives, weapons and/or drugs; material “written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption”; graphic presentations of illegal acts “such as rape, incest, sex with a minor, bestiality, necrophilia or bondage”; and information on “how to avoid detection of criminal schemes”.

    Monty Python’s Big Red Book is prohibited because it contains nudity or sexual images.

    (Extract from a report by Edward Helmore for The Guardian, 2 December 2017. Full story can be read here).

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