Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Prisons are denying books on programming to inmates

I'm not sure how many inmates want a life of grinding code, but this seems a bit cruel to deny them the chance of getting a high-skill job when they get out:
The Oregon Department of Corrections has banned prisoners from reading a number of books related to technology and programming, citing concerns about security.

According to public records obtained by the Salem Reporter, the Oregon Department of Corrections has banned dozens of books related to programming and technology as they come through the mail room, ensuring that they don’t get to the hands of prisoners.

At least in official department code, there is no blanket ban on technology-related books. Instead, each book is individually evaluated to assess potential threats. Many programming-related books are cited as “material that threatens,” often including the subject matter (“computer programming”) as justification.

Rejected books that are geared towards hacking, such as Justin Seitz’s Black Hat Python, may represent a clearer threat to the Department of Corrections, which fears that prisoners could use those tools to compromise their systems. But how did books such as Windows 10 for Dummies, Microsoft Excel 2016 for Dummies, and Google Adsense for Dummies (marked as posing "clear and present danger"), fail the prison’s security test?
The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is in full force here, I see.  But it will be totes different when the Democrats ram their "Democratic Socialism" down our throats ...


Aesop said...

Identity theft, hacking, phishing, the internet of things, social media becoming one's entire lifestory, and the plethora of ways banking in the 21st C. has moved from sacks of money to 1s and 0s, and you're seriously wondering why books on computer programming are banned the same way books on firearms, police tactics, and lockpicking are...???

Gimme a break, man.

They shouldn't be given anything besides comic books, play-doh, coloring books and crayons, not least of which because of the average inmate IQ. And they should be getting worked 12 hours a day six days a week to earn the privilege of them for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons.

Most of them completely pissed away a K-12 education. There are consequences for that. If someone gets paroled, he can go to night school. Prison is prison. We should keep it that way.

And kudos to the bureaucracy that showed a rare (for them) bit of common sense. That behavior should be encouraged, however fleeting or anemic, in hopes the seed might grow.

Borepatch said...

Aesop, they removed "Microsoft Excel for Dummies". That's not exactly going to turn you into a super hacker.

Old Windways said...

Alternatively, the prisons could just address their cyberinfrastructure to ensure it is secure. Without the opportunity to take malicious action, there is little risk here, much like reading law books does not make an inmate an officer of the court with the privileges and responsibilities therein.
If they want to pursue their CCNA for use after release, I don't see that as any different than working towards their GED.
I guess this is just another case of people (or more accurately, institutions) fearing that which they do not understand.