Is the Bureau of Prison's Policy That Prohibits the Viewing of Movies Rated R or Nc-17 In Prison Constitutional ?
In Jewell v. Gonzales, 420 F. Supp. 2d 406 (W.D. Pa. 2006), the district court addressed the constitutionality of the Bureau of Prison (BOP) policy that prohibits the viewing of movies rated R or NC-17 in prison.
The government asserted that the prohibition furthers the government's interest in providing a non-hostile work environment for BOP employees.
However, the district court stated:
First, it is not clear whether courts have recognized this particular concern as a legitimate penological interest.
But moreover, given the rigors normally associated with conditions in the prison setting -- not the least of which is regular interaction with hardened criminals -- it strains credulity to believe that individuals who have chosen corrections work as an avocation would be strongly offended by the showing of an R-rated film.
Though there may be employees within the BOP who possess particularly delicate sensibilities, we find the likelihood of an employee taking serious offense to an R-rated film to be so low as to render the general ban irrational as a means of ensuring a non-hostile working environment. Jewell, 420 F. Supp. 2d at 437.