Nebraska the Latest State to Ban Porn From Prisoners

LINCOLN, Neb.—First was New Hampshire, followed by California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Michigan, and now the state of Nebraska has decided that starting in January 2018, its prisoners should be deprived of whatever sexual release they may get by looking at pornography.

The ban is apparently the "brain"child of Scott Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), who announced in early May that as of January 8, 2018, the prisoners would no longer have access to pornographic images or texts, defined as "depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement," including materials showing "nudity and/or graphic depictions of sexual behaviors/acts."

, porn is "exploitative" and somehow "create[s] a hostile work environment for (prison) staff members. ... These materials do not promote a positive culture and distract inmates and staff from focusing on the [department's] vision of safe prisons, transformed lives and safe communities." And to think: All the inmates want is something they can use to jack off in peace.

Perhaps no one should be surprised at the NDSC's move. After all, prison ministry leader Father Thomas MacLean has stated that, "Nobody has a right to view our sisters in Christ in a way that exploits them," and has called on prisoners to destroy whatever porn they may already possess, claiming that they'd be "doing God's will."

And Frakes is hardly the first director to call for a porn ban. Former warden Gene Atherton stated, "I have no First Amendment sympathies for inmates who think they have a right to their pornography," claiming that the reason several states have adopted bans on porn was "to curtail sexual misconduct by inmates and protect staff, particularly women, from seeing such materials or becoming the object of sexual fantasies."

Several states already ban porn depicting violence or children engaging in sexual activity, but the Nebraska ban is an example of the recent hysteria that brands porn as a "public health crisis"—and the ban has already garnered support from the religio-conservative Nebraska Family Alliance.

"Research shows that pornography fuels sex trafficking, child sexual abuse and sexual violence," stated Karen Bowling, the Nebraska Family Alliance's executive director. "Getting pornography out of prisons will ensure better rehabilitation for inmates and a safer environment for staff in our state prisons."

In a word, horseshit—and at least one inmate agrees: "I think it’s irresponsible to take something away that is a stress reliever," Jose Rodriguez. "And how do you draw the line between pornography and artwork?" And this from a guy who says he doesn't even use porn!

Sadly, inmates have yet to win any of the lawsuits they've filed to overturn other states' porn bans, and even the ACLU has counseled inmates that they don't have nearly the breadth of First Amendment rights that non-inmates do, and that prison officials can impose "significant" restrictions on what they can read and possess, sexually speaking—so those Nebraska inmates who current have subscriptions to even mildly sexy magazines should hope they can get their money back for their remaining issues once that porn ban kicks in come January.