Inmates throughout the state of New Jersey are constantly victims of inhumane treatment. John, a member of the NJPC Youth Caucus, recently reached out to tell us about the current conditions in New Jersey prisons.
Prisoners have the right to read, under the First Amendment. At times, that right is restricted if the book of choice is thought to have no penological purpose. Inmates are not allowed to read books that include information on anything that might create disorder in a prison or create a dangerous environment. Some of these titles include “48 Laws of Power” and “How to Hustle and Win.” John, however, tells a different story. “We are not allowed to order books that are not of their liking regardless of whether it’s on the ban list or not.” Denying youth who are currently incarcerated the ability to read is cruel and inhumane. It goes against their First Amendment right.
John also talks about the other violations happening behind bars. “Since being here I have been warning officers as well as staff about coming to work sick after testing positive with covid. None of them wear their mask unless a major or admin walks through. We have recently been strip searched in the middle of the last wave of covid because a sgt. didn’t like how the unit looked when she walked in.” This is particularly alarming, considering New Jersey had one of the highest inmate deaths due to Covid in the entire nation in 2020.