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February 24, 2012
Mark Batty Publisher is the proud publisher of unique books on a variety of subjects; pop culture, art, cookbooks, photography, graffiti art and everything in between. Some of MBP’s titles may be viewed as controversial, iconoclastic and irreverent, making it more of the wild card in the publishing world. By no means are MBP’s books to be considered simple or forgettable. For instance 2003 published title, Tart Cards: London’s Illicit Advertising Art, by Caroline Archer is one example of “extreme art.” Archer takes Tart cards which are cards placed in phone booths to advertise the services of call girls and creates a compilation. Tart cards are predominantly seen in London, and because of how often it is seen, it has become part of the London culture, much like graffiti in New York City. Caroline Archer brilliantly creates art out of what would seemingly be deemed as crude displays or a casual characteristic of the London metropolitan landscape. This kind of art interests a great many people and inspires those who want creative escape and learn more about different cultures.
Mark Batty Publisher received a letter from the Kansas Department of Corrections stating that Tart Cards had been rejected by the KDOC. According to the KDOC, the book contains several photographs that show nudity. The option to appeal is suggested and if the appeal is not considered or acted on the book will be mailed out at MBP’s expense or destroyed. As much as this seems like a small issue it in fact speaks huge volumes on the nature of our legal system. While no one’s arguing that prisoners should be reading books that instruct them on, say, picking locks or tunnel digging to help them escape, imposing bans on what they can read does a disservice to them and to society generally. Keeping prisoners “ignorant” of life outside of the prison bars that hold them or uninformed of the lives of others almost guarantees a uncorrected prisoner. The whole point of being in a corrections facility is to correct the prisoner, not to castigate to the point of blind obedience. Although these prisoners have committed crimes and some unfairly prosecuted, does not mean they have lost their human quality. Research shows the best predictors that a prisoner will be able to return to the community and live a productive life depends on whether they’ve maintained connections to the outside world. Allowing prisoners to receive books, newspapers and magazine helps them engage and its very important from a public safety standpoint.
Yes, there should be to some extent censorship of what is read but if the books are merely mirroring what is already happening in society how is it in anyway harmful to these men who use them as entertainment and escape from such a harsh and unforgiving environment. Before judging, one should first consider that these men are victims themselves, being subject from a young age to crime, abuse, poverty and many other ills that infect society. How could we continue to keep them imprisoned without out any view of the world? Its inhumane and will prove to be a failed method of correcting the ways of these so called menaces of society.