Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books – The Washington Post

“Federal prison officials abruptly reversed a controversial policy Thursday that had made it harder and more expensive for thousands of inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs.

The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.

Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.

The reversal came after two days’ of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.

Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to “ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials.” …”