We must be more street-smart than we thought here at Mother Jones. Apparently, our list of cellblock slang in the current issue was too realistic for actual prison censors. One would-be reader wrote us from Pickaway Correctional Institution in central Ohio after his copy of Mother Jones was confiscated because—according to the prison’s Notice of Withholding Printed Material—the article “appears to be written in cipher or code, or that instructs in the use of cipher or code.”
The magazine-less 73-year-old prisoner who wrote us reported “evidently, you are doing something right. Alas, I shall never know what it is, since the state of Ohio won’t deliver your July issue.” But he’s not going to just let it slide: “I intend to ask if they will deliver the magazine, after excising p. 59.” On the envelope he wrote: “First Amendment! First Amendment! First Amendment!”
Hopefully the censors will reconsider their definition of the First Amendment for our wanna-be reader, especially since they already allow books like The Hitler We Loved And Why in prison libraries.