The First Amendment protects our freedom of expression and, by extension, our access to reading material. But in prison, it’s sometimes another story.  

As part of our Restricted Reading series reporting project, we’re examining the purpose of censorship in prison, how it happens and what this practice tells us about the right to intellectual freedom for the more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in America today.  

We’ll be releasing this special series on our Obscured podcast during the fall. Episodes will explore the role of prison libraries, books to prisoners donation programs, legal challenges to censorship and best practices for managing access to reading material inside prisons.  

In the meantime, we’ve created these short audio installments to help build a foundation of understanding for what you’ll be hearing on our podcast.  

An overview on restricted reading practices in prison with Pen America’s James Tager, author of Literature Locked Up: How Prison Book Restriction Policies Constitute the Nation’s Largest Book Ban. 

A trailer featuring Freedom to Read Foundation board member Eldon Ray James, who was formerly incarcerated, institutional library consultant Erin Boyington from the Colorado State Library, The Militant Newspaper staff writer Seth Galinsky and University of Illinois faculty member and Education Justice Project director Rebecca Ginsburg.