Bare Necessities

Published July 4, 2011

Prison inmates have a constitutional right to view pornography, television, and video games, a lawsuit in Michigan alleges.

The lawsuit, brought by an inmate in one Michigan county, alleges he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by the jail’s ban on pornographic material.

The prisons already allow prisoners to read Playboy and Penthouse magazines, but not outright pornography. Even the ACLU agrees prison officials have the right to limit the publications prisoners can view. “Prisons have a lot of leeway to regulate the material that comes in and out,” said the executive director of its Michigan chapter.

The prisoner says, however, the lack of pornography forces him to endure “a poor standard of living, suffering from both sexual and sensory deprivation.”

Source: Robert Snell, “Inmate sues state over lack of porn in jail; Man sues state, saying taxpayers should provide it,” Detroit News, July 4, 2011