For years Utah prisons have been unique in that they required inmates to speak with their visitors using only English, the fear being that anyone speaking in some godless foreign tongue could be dangerously scheming in front of the guards. Ain't that the American way: Instead of teaching the guards foreign languages, or hiring multilingual guards in the first place, let's just ban every language but English.
The English-only rule's obvious result was some prisoners being unable to communicate with their friends and family members. After years of this nonsense, and much protestation from the American Civil Liberties Union, inmates in Utah will finally be able to speak to their visitors in whichever language they wish starting August 1.
Utah prison head Rollin Cook, who made the decision to end the foreign-language ban, said, "That's their connection to the community and to their family and friends. It's going to make the visitation a lot better for people that don't speak English as their first language."
Wow. And it only took years and years to reach that conclusion.
American prisons are still horrible hellholes, of course. Just a little less so now.
[Image via AP]