Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy

Special Call for Papers:
Access to Information in Carceral institutions

“Book restriction regulations with the United States carceral system represent the largest book ban policy in the United States” (Tager 2019). Despite advocacy on the part of currently and formerly incarcerated people and the American Library Association’s statement on Prisoners’ Right to Read (https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/prisonersrightoread), the regulation, restriction, and surveillance of information access in immigration detention centers, jails, juvenile detention centers, and prisons are not well-documented or often raised as an area of concern.

The normalization of carceral censorship ties into racialized oppression; Black, Indigenous, and people of color are most likely to be targeted by the criminal justice system and are incarcerated for longer periods of time than white people with similar types of convictions. These state practices have ongoing impacts on the families and social support networks of currently and formerly incarcerated people.

New barriers to information access within carceral facilities are developing at a rapid pace, adding to the content-neutral and content-specific censorship practices that are supposedly justified by law. For example, Illinois has drastically reduced the budget available to purchase new materials for state libraries, to approximately $600 a year for the entire state prison system, technology companies are promising access to reading materials that are in the public domain (and profiting from fees to access these materials, James 2020), and prisons across the country have attempted to do away with access to print materials altogether.

Special Emphasis on Commentaries

Commentaries from volunteers, librarians and library staff, family members, and currently or formerly incarcerated people that describe their experiences with censorship, limited information access, or privacy in relation to information access and incarceration are welcomed. These contributions can be anonymized prior to publication.

Commentaries are typically 500–1500 words (references included) and formatted in Chicago Style (author-date), when applicable. Commentaries will be reviewed by the editorial staff.

Topics

To provide more ground for LIS to act in coordination with the grassroots efforts that have pushed against encroaching forms of censorship in carceral facilities, this special issue of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy (https://journals.ala.org/jifp/index) seeks both commentaries and features related to:

  • Trends in information access and censorship in immigration detention centers, jails, juvenile detention centers, and/or prisons
  • Analyses of resistance to censorship, including through grassroots awareness raising, regulation, enforced transparency, and library funding
  • Social and political implications of censorship in carceral facilities
  • Censorship and specific forms of literacy, including digital literacy
  • Privacy and information sharing between people who are incarcerated and people who are not
  • Historical resistance to censorship in carceral facilities

The Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy publishes two kinds of articles:

Features: Original research articles submitted for peer review. Submissions should be 4,000-8,000 words (references included), formatted in Chicago Style (author-date), and anonymized for double-blind peer review.

Commentaries: Shorter essays, think pieces, or general commentary on topical issues, controversies and emerging questions for the field. Commentaries are typically 500–1000 words (references included) and formatted in Chicago Style (author-date). Commentaries will be reviewed by the editorial staff.

Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2022
Deadline for reviews: May 5, 2022
Deadline for revisions: May 31, 2022
Publication of special issue: Summer 2022

To submit, follow Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy guidelines, using the “SUBMISSIONS” button at the top right of the home page. Please note “SPECIAL ISSUE SUBMISSION: CARCERAL INSTITUTIONS” in the “comments to the editor” section during submission. Questions should be addressed to the editor, Shannon M. Oltmann (shannon.oltmann@uky.edu).