Minneapolis, MN – This year’s Northern Spark art festival featured an exhibit which displayed a collection of books banned in prisons across the United States, called the Section of Disapproved Books. According to PrisonPolicy.org, there are roughly “2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 1,852 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.” Prisons are designed to control the physical movement of bodies deemed criminal by the state – but what about prisoners’ minds?
The Section of Disapproved Books exhibit was created by artist Daniel McCarthy Clifford, whose works have been “censored and confiscated by prison officials across the country.” Books displayed in the exhibit include guides to computer programming, picture books of art, and erotica. The censored reading materials include a wide range of topics, including such titles as the World Atlas, to more subversive books like Chomsky on Anarchism. Other texts address historical topics such as race in America, the U.S. prison system, and police brutality.
What do all these books have in common? They are all banned for reading by inmates incarcerated in prisons across the United States.
Watch the video below and take a walk with Unicorn Riot through the exhibit at the Minneapolis Central Library.
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Written by Andrew Neef & Rachel Weiland