On January 8th, Shaun King reported on The Intercept that the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by civil rights advocate and writer, Michelle Alexander had been banned in two New Jersey prisons. In the report King writes that the New Jersey ACLU put out a statement saying the ban violated the Constitution and they were prepared to fight for the rights of prisoners currently incarcerated in New Jersey prisons.
The public outcry was swift.
Gosh, who could have predicted that banning "The New Jim Crow" would increase interest in the book?— Very Stable Ron Charles (@RonCharles) January 8, 2018
#1 in Books > Law > Rules & Procedures
#1 in Books > Law > Criminal Law > Criminal Procedure
#1 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Criminology
Every American should read the New Jim Crow.— Ben Jealous (@BenJealous) January 8, 2018
When I am governor any library in the state that does not have a copy— including those in our prisons— will receive one from me.
After all, my official endorsement of The New Jim Crow appears on the back of the first printing. https://t.co/JV4Pr8AjeE
I taught Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, in my last two classes at @IRAASColumbiaU. It not only belongs in every prison but in the office of every member of Congress and every state legislator. https://t.co/Fc5k1eTbaw— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 8, 2018
The internet and social media can be amazing and in a surprising (and quick) turn of events the ban has been lifted.
We just got off the phone with Commissioner of NJ Dept of Corrections, who confirmed that the ban on Michelle Alexander's #TheNewJimCrow is LIFTED! Kudos to DOC for fixing this, and so speedily - within hours. We'll be there to offer guidance when they start drafting new policy.— ACLU of New Jersey (@ACLUNJ) January 8, 2018
BREAKING: New Jersey has announced they are lifting their ban on the book "The New Jim Crow" after our huge push today.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 9, 2018
They will also revisit their broken policies on banning books.
Thank you all for your work and push on this today. GOOD WORK. https://t.co/tyqxN6owdJ
People on Twitter celebrated the victory.
This is really terrific work! And now we just need to keep on the effort to reduce the #MassIncarceration and the disparities between black and white residents of New Jersey.— Marc Beebe (@mdbeebe) January 8, 2018
In other words, now that inmates in NJ can read about the #NewJimCrow, we need to get rid of it!
Great work. Any idea where a person can donate the book to an inmate?— Nadine Smith (@1NadineSmith) January 9, 2018
The ACLU of New Jersey thanked everyone for their support and hard work.
And thank you to everyone who was as concerned as we were about the ban of such an important book in the setting where it's arguably needed the most. You stood up for criminal justice reform and racial justice, and you stood up against censorship. And you made a difference.— ACLU of New Jersey (@ACLUNJ) January 8, 2018
Now people are asking the ACLU to turn their attention to a similar problem in New York.
New York state's prison system restricted the types of books people can send to inmates at three prisons to:— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 9, 2018
-Some romance novels
-The Bible and other religious texts
-Drawing or coloring books, puzzle books and how-to books, -A dictionary and a thesaurushttps://t.co/EBGiKkGSbe
Michelle Alexander had this to say about the ban and many others throughout the country.