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[BKARTS] More on the PEN/prison writing controversy . . .



>From today's New York Times:

"There are two very significant public interests that have run directly into conflict," Mr. Blumenthal [Connecticut's Attorney General] said Friday. "One is to give prisoners the right and opportunity to express themselves and to rehabilitate in the best sense of the word. The other goal is to make prisoners pay for the expenses of their incarceration if they have the means to do it." He said the law should be amended to apply "only to windfalls, such as inheritances, benefits, lottery winnings or proceeds of criminal activity.'' 
Mr. Blumenthal said he had agreed to the settlement because it became clear in negotiations that the women were not profiting by writing about their crimes. "My ambivalence was that their achievement in this book was truly extraordinary and admirable, but the statute had to be enforced," he said. He added that he had been invited to the award ceremony but was not sure he would be able to attend. 

The whole article is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/17/nyregion/17pen.html (it may require registering at the site). 

I have to say, regardless of what some of these women may have done, I found the warden's actions (deleting the hard drives), inexcusably spiteful and petulant -- a typical petty abuse of power. These women were sentenced to prison for their crimes; they weren't sentenced to having their tongues cut out.

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