Coleman Prison Book Ban

Coleman prison bans books
09Apr2018
Written By Rdap Dan

 Coleman Prison Book Ban Restricts Inmates’ Book Access

Michelle Jones is the 2016 co-recipient of the Indiana Historical Society’s Best Research Project award. Michelle Jones is also an inmate serving time for murder. Michelle’s avid reading while incarcerated led to discovering a passion for history… a passion resulting in her making a positive contribution to the free world, and ultimately bettering herself. The Coleman Prison book ban might make stories like Michelle’s fewer and farther between. The new policy impacts inmates, as well as their families and members of society who will become the neighbors, employers and co-inhabitants with Florida’s ex-convicts who were denied full access to books.

Coleman prison book ban

Coleman Inmates To Be Given Less Access To Books

Coleman Federal Prison is reducing inmates’ access to books. New guidelines restrict inmates to accessing books only from internal providers approved by the prison. Under the book ban, inmates could no longer receive books from loved ones. They would, instead, be forced to pay a 30% mark-up on books from prison-approved vendors. For many Coleman inmates, this means choosing between reading a book and purchasing items such as suitable clothing and personal hygiene products.

See The Actual Book Ban Document

Click below to view the actual Coleman Prison book ban documentation.

Coleman book ban document screenshot

RDAP Dan’s Position

This issue matters to me for two reasons: I served my time in federal prison at the Coleman institution, so this hits close to home for me. Also, during my time in federal prison, books literally changed my thinking and my life. While incarcerated, a friend’s mother sent me Tony Robbin’s book, Awaken the Giant Within. At that point in my life, I wouldn’t have chosen that book for myself. Out of respect for my friend’s mother, I thought I’d give it a read. I’m so thankful I did! That book reached into my soul and connected with me in ways I never saw coming. I recommend Awaken the Giant Within to my prison coaching clients, and I still refer back to it for myself. If Coleman had been operating under the new book ban, I probably would not have read that book while incarcerated, and my life may be on a much less positive track today.

The ACLU’s Position

According to Miami New Times, The ACLU of Florida agrees that the Coleman Prison book ban is counter-productive. ACLU deputy director, Melba Pearson, makes an excellent point that the majority of Coleman’s inmates will eventually return as members of the free community. If your new neighbor is going to be a former inmate, do you want him to be someone who read and bettered himself or someone who sat in a cell with limited or no access to books that could have changed his way of being in society?

Similar Book Ban Failed In New York

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision favored a similar book ban policy. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, released the policy after numerous complaints and opposition. Such reversal underscores the importance of voicing your concerns to policy-makers.

Why Are Prisons Limiting Inmate Book Access?

If asked why inmates are being subjected to book restriction, policy makers would likely say it’s an effort to prevent illegal substances from being smuggled into prisons. That justification doesn’t really hold water when you consider that there are already procedures in place to inspect incoming mail. The guidelines function to ensure that contraband doesn’t enter the prison population, so why do we need a Coleman book ban restricting inmate book access?

Closing Thoughts

Coleman’s book ban policy takes effect on May 14, 2018. Time will tell how Coleman’s book ban plays out, but at RDAP Dan, we believe that a human being’s access to education and books should not be limited by his financial status.

Dan Wise Federal Prison Consultant

9 Comments

  • Melanie says:

    I’m totally against it. My daughter father just got transferred to USP Coleman

  • Amanda Borror says:

    I have got to agree with u rdap Dan because if it wasn’t for books while I was locket up in federal prison I wouldn’t of learned as much as I did and my out look on life wouldn’t be what it is today as well. Before I went to prison I couldn’t really read that well and some might be like wow this 35 year old women couldn’t read that good while locket up no I couldn’t but being in there and able to receive as many books as wanted and they books we had there as well I thought myself how to read very well. I really hope they don’t pass this five book limit and u ha e to order them from there cause for one some ppl r not as fortunate as other and have money on there books to buy books like that some just have enough money to get what they really need to make it there. I’m sorry that our fellow family members of the federal prison is going threw this rite now..

  • Bette Davis says:

    This is unacceptable that books will be banned,Stop this before it gets worse enough already

  • Bette Davis says:

    This is not acceptable,books should not be banned

  • Stephenie Johannes says:

    I’m very sad to hear Coleman is doing this. My husband is there and likes to read in his free time. I am the one paying the marked up prices, not the offender. I put the money on his books to purchase items. We both refuse to buy books threw the prison so they can make profit of the families. We will tough out the remainder of his sentence with out any new books. The Government is just being greedy and we will not fall for it. I pray that this too fails for the prison.

  • Staci Sutton says:

    My husband has been incarcerated over 15 years and he writes and published books and now he won’t even be able to see his own hard work and accomplishments

  • Diana Fike says:

    I totally am against this ban on books. Who has the authority to change this ban? What can a person do to help eliminate this and change this? I have a nephew at Coleman and the ONLY outlet he has is reading and now that has been compromised. This is more like torture for Inmates as well as the families and friends of those incarcerated. Does this mean that Bibles are also banned? Who are the people that initiated this and why?

  • Rex Ridgeway says:

    This is just another example of a federal institution making it up as they ho along without regard to policy. They always use false claims of every issue being a security concern when in fact all they are doing is being mean spirited and asserting their authority just for the sake of doing it.

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