Prison officials in South Carolina are standing firm against calls from the ACLU to allow inmates access to publications with sexual images, saying such magazines would encourage “deviant behavior."
The American Civil Liberties Union said it filed a lawsuit in October 2010, claiming that the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner, S.C., only allowed its inmates to read the Bible.
The debate started when Prison Legal News, a newspaper providing information and news regarding prisons, was not distributed to inmates. The prison said its decision was due to the publication's use of staples and racy advertisements.
Sandy Senn, an attorney representing the detention center, told FoxNews.com that Prison Legal News contained "repugnant" advertisements, including a "nude female with stars on her breasts" soliciting inmates to buy porn.
The ACLU says that not only did the jail prevent Prison Legal News, it only allowed "paperback Bibles" in their facility and filed a motion filed May 3, 2011, stating that the jail “cannot constitutionally ban all publications that sometimes show men and women wearing underwear or dressed for the beach."
The ACLU claims it is not suggesting that jails must permit pornography, only that their policies regarding which material is acceptable and which is not should be reexamined. The accusation that the ACLU is “trying to allow pornography into the jail is patently false and an outright fabrication,” Will Matthews, a spokesman for the ACLU told FoxNews.com.
When asked if the ACLU was pushing to allow, for example, the Victoria's Secret catalog or more provocative men's magazines like Maxim or Playboy, Matthews said that they are only referring to Prison Legal News.
However, the wording of the ACLU's proposed injunction order against the jail is broad and does not state Prison Legal News anywhere in the document.
The lawsuit has outraged prison officials who say this could open the door to pornographic material allowed in prisons..
Senn says that the ACLU's injunction was "inappropriate" and claimed it would “subject officers to a hostile environment,” by provoking assaults and other criminal behavior in a prison that has many female correction officers.
Senn denied that the prison only allowed Bibles, saying it allowed in all religious text and a variety of reading material so long as they do not contain staples or questionable subjects such as "bomb-making or anarchy."
She stood behind the prison's current policy that all reading material first be inspected and "nothing above Maxim" is allowed in. When commenting on which sort of publications could be deemed as inappropriate or even pornographic -- specifically Macy's or Victoria's Secret catalogs featuring swimwear -- Senn said, "I know it when I see it."
She said changing that policy would provide inmates with materials bound by staples, paper clips or clasps, saying they could be used as weapons.
A preliminary hearing on the matter is expected to take place next month, KABC-TV reports.