Prison Bureau Retreats On Purging Chapel Libraries


Under pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians, and members of Congress, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on its lists of approved resources, the New York Times reports. The bureau acted to remove the materials after a 2004 Department of Justice report mentioned that religious books that incite violence could infiltrate chapel libraries.

After the details of the removal became widely known this month, Republican lawmakers, liberal Christians, and evangelical talk shows all criticized the government for creating a list of acceptable religious books. The bureau has not abandoned the idea of creating such lists, a spokeswoman said. Rather than packing away everything while those lists were compiled, the materials will remain on the shelves. The bureau said it would finish a review of materials in chapel libraries by the end of January 2008.


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