We have more than a few subscribers who are incarcerated. Sometimes these guys (they're always men) write us fan letters and tell us that True West is a breath of fresh air in their world. From time to time, we run into "Reading Material Evaluation" board problems with the mail screeners at these institutions, usually because of our gun ads.
However, a recent rejection from the Colorado Department of Corrections really got to our Business Manager, Carole Glenn (who handles these subscription issues). Our July issue was flagged and denied to prisoner Gary S. because the issue allegedly "supports, incites, promotes, encourages, or advocates illegal gang activity."
The cover, along with pages 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 32, 34, 33, 36 and 38 are flagged for something cited as "Contrary to treatment plan (Minors)".
Here is the offending cover:
Evidently, getting kids hooked on history goes against their treatment plan.
Here is part of a letter Carole Glenn wrote to the Administrative Services Manager in Buena Vista, Colorado:
"True West respects and supports the right of your institution to monitor and determine the appropriateness of reading material for those incarcerated there. We do not, however, agree with the evaluation of True West in general or of the specific issue stated.
"True West is dedicated to preserving the history of the American West. It informs readers of their heritage and provides information on travel, art, books and museums. The specific issue referenced focuses on ways to get young people interested in history.
"Bad deeds are not glorified in True West, but actions of those who helped build a better way of life, then and now, are. The July issue has a wonderful article on Hugh O'Brian and mentions a charitable youth leadership organization that he started in 1958. It also has an article on the Texas Camel Corps, restoration of historic buildings and western art."
End of excerpts from Carole's letter.
"If you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from the worthless ones."
—Carl Edward Sagan