Colorado Prisoners Forced to Read USAToday

usatoday03052010a.pngIn addition to serving time, inmates at Colorado’s Garfield County Jail must endure a slog through America’s most generic newspaper to get their news.

The Aspen News reports that the prison only allows prisoners to read USAToday, for fear that local news will trigger conflicts among prisoners or engender vigilante justice. Garfield County Jail Commander Steve Hopple, confirming the report:

“We try to keep the local news from spreading. It’s a safeguard in place to slow it down but we can’t absolutely keep news from spreading,” Hopple said.

Not every Colorado jail is as picky about its news. The Pitkin County Jail, for example, lets inmates read the Aspen Daily News and The Aspen Times.

We’re not quite buying the “safety” argument (prisoners have other ways of getting dirt on each other), and it seems unnecessarily cruel to deprive prisoners of such valuable civic and educational tools, not to mention a meaningful connection to the outside world.

(h/t Romenesko)