Jerk-Off Mags Behind Bars: The Debate Rages

South Carolina's Hill-Finklea Detention Center for barring its inmates from enjoying the kinds of pornographic materials you and I take for granted every. Single. Day. [Note: The ACLU has responded, saying ABC's report is false. Updates below.]

The ACLU first intervened when reports surfaced that detainees were only permitted to read the Bible. Prison officials said the reports weren't true, and that the inmates had "a wide variety of reading material at their disposal."

From the KABC report:

"If they don't like the wording in some of our policies, we'll be happy to try and create better wording for them. But, there are certain issues that we're just not going to be able to bend on," said Sandra J. Senn, an attorney for [Hill-Finklea].

This debate is not new. Prisons typically ban hardcore porn, arguing it will lead to a more "hostile environment," but softcore stuff of the Playboy-variety is occasionally tolerated. A preliminary hearing on the matter is scheduled for next month. Seeing as 60% of Americans find porn morally reprehensible for the general population, I'm guessing their case won't fall upon too many sympathetic ears.

Update: As some commenters have already pointed out, this story, citing a local ABC report, was one-sided and lacked clarification, and, according to the other side, is a gross mischaracterization of what it is they are attempting to achieve.

A representative from Prison Legal News, who is represented in this case by the ACLU, contacted Gawker to explain what it is they are advocating for:

You have unfortunately been duped by one-sided news coverage about the porn issue in this suit. In short, there is none — neither we nor the ACLU are advocating for "porn" in any way. That is a defense raised by the jail officials, but it's false. And I mean false as in without any factual basis whatsover. We have never asked for porn in the jail, for the jail to allow porn, etc., and neither have our attorneys with the ACLU.

The closest anything in the case has come to that is an affidavit from John Clark, a high-ranking federal prison official, who noted that banning publications like Sports Illustrated and Victoria Secrets catalogs (which contain no nudity) is unwarranted, based on his extensive experience in managing prisons and jails. Note that his affidavit wasn't filed by us; it was filed by the Department of Justice, which has intervened in our case (on our side).

UPDATE 2: A representative from ACLU tells us, "We are in no way seeking to allow inmates at the Hill-Finklea detention center to enjoy pornography. [The allegation] that we want to make hardcore porn available to all, movies too, is absolutely false."

I hope that helps.

[KABC, photo via Shutterstock]