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Jailbird decries porn ban as “civil rights violation”

Prisoner mounts civil rights lawsuit against the state of Michigan for “sexual and sensory deprivation” claims linked to a ban on porn in his cell.

A prisoner has taken the law into his own hands and is suing the state of Michigan for a civil rights violation that rides on “sexual and sensory deprivation” claims linked to a ban on porn in his cell.

Kyle Richards, 21, an inmate at Macomb County Jail currently awaiting sentencing for bank robbery, claims he is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

In a hand-written lawsuit, he says his civil rights are being violated and argues “such living conditions have been used as a method of 'psychological warfare' against prisoners, in order to both destroy the morale of inmates and break the spirit of individuals”, The Detroit News reports.

Instead of suing the county, he is targeting the state which, according to a Departmet of Correction spokesman, does allow inmates in state prisons to possess pornography - with the exception of material depicting simulated rape, bestiality and sadomasochism.

Not so, however, at Macomb County Jail, which enforces a ban on pornography. Richards is also fighting for access to personal televisions, video game consoles and radios in the cells.

The Daily Mail reports that he is described in the lawsuit as suffering from “chronic masturbation syndrome and severe sexual discomfort”, needing pornography to treat his medical condition.

Richards has been an inmate at the jail since January. As AP reports, he was charged with bank robbery after police followed a trail of snowy footprints and dropped money from the crime scene to his Fraser apartment, north of Detroit. He pleaded guilty and sentencing is set for August 2.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, prisoners in New Zealand are feeling the heat of a world-first tobacco ban introduced in jails nationwide from July 1. The move has been hotly debated, with many believing it curbs prisoners’ civil rights.

New Zealand’s Department of Corrections stopped the sale of cigarettes, matches and lighters in prisons a month ago in preparation, and thousands of inmates have signed up for nicotine replacement therapy, The Age reports. Some prisoners were said to be so addicted to smoking that they attempted to light and smoke their nicotine patches.

"That type of behaviour is expected," assistant general manager of prison services, Brendan Anstiss, told the Dominion Post.

"Prisoners have tried to smoke a variety of things, from tea leaves to grass, so I'm not surprised they'd try to get a hit from the patches. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work."

Similar smoking bans have been enforced in US and Canadian prisons, as well as one on the Isle of Man, but New Zealand is the first to introduce a nationwide blanket ban.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/jailbird-decries-porn-ban-“civil-rights-violation”