Stupidity in Colorado prison administration

An amusing item was posted by Professor Edith Hall on the CLASSICS-L list yesterday, which came into LT-ANTIQ as well:

Meanwhile, proof has arrived of the potency of our subject. One of my PhD students, Katie Billotte, sent a copy of a scholarly book I published as a sedate OUP monograph in 1989, “Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy”, to her penpal currently housed in a Colorado gaol. This is the letter she has just received from the Wardens’ Office–Crowley Correctional Facility (pictured here):

‘We are returning to you this shipment made to Inmate #90704 currently held in the Colorado Department of Corrections. We have determined that Inventing the Barbarians by Edith Hall constitutes contraband under the State of Colorado’s Revised Statute. It has been determined by the wardens of this facility that the primary or secondary purpose of the author was to compromise the good order and efficient operation of a facility under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Department of Corrections. Please note that any further attempts to introduce this item into any facility currently operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General.’

Phew! No wonder people want to close Classics down!”

The stupidity of petty officialdom is one reason why the number of petty officials should be kept as low as possible.

UPDATE: I’ve found a webpage for the prison here, and forwarded the email on CLASSICS-L to their PR man with a note that it is going viral.  It will be interesting to see how they handle the matter.

6 Responses to “Stupidity in Colorado prison administration”


  1. Richard Brook

    Just a small point, but when conversing with the Colorado institute of corrections, perhaps you could highlight that when they refer to books being sent which they consider inappropriate, it is surely the intentions of the sender rather than the author that they should question.

  2. Richard Brook

    And should a consignment of “Conan the Barbarian” series books be sent to prisoner #90704 just to assess the consistency of screening?

  3. Richard Brook

    Having just followed the link to the Colorado Institute of Corrections website and perused their vision and mission statements and overview of their leader, I have an alternative catch phrase for them to describe their partnership with government:

    “You slam, we dunk”

    Also very curious about their various pluarlisation of correction.

  4. Roger Pearse

    I imagine that Conan the Barbarian would not make it past the eagle-eyed staff. No siree!!

    It will be interesting to see what, if any, reaction these people evince.

  5. James

    Talk about a bit odd as I actually went to High School in that very same Colorado county! My parents still live in the area. It’s a rural area that is mostly dominated by cattle ranching and some farming although a lot of the farmers sold out since selling their water rights gave them far more money than they could ever make in farming. There are two prisons in the county, one run by the state and another which is private that is run on a contract basis to save some money for the government agencies that send prisoners there.

    Anyway I suspect they didn’t read the material that was sent, just looked at the somewhat loaded words in the title such as “Barbarian” and “Tragedy” as hinting the contents could cause rebellion.

  6. Roger Pearse

    Your thought is mine: it was probably rejected in 15 seconds, without further investigation.



css.php