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Thompson v. Jeffreys

UPLC has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Heather Ann Thompson, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy" after the Illinois Department of Corrections banned the book in many Illinois prisons. This censorship clearly violates the author's rights to free speech and due process.

Ms. Thompson's book provides a thorough history and analysis of the Attica prison uprising, including the event's role in perpetuating mass incarceration in the United States. 

Attorneys: Alan Mills, Liz Mazur, Nicole Schult (Uptown People's Law Center), Eric S. Mattson, Benjamin R. Brunner (Sidley Austin LLP)

Date Filed: September 13, 2018

Court: U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Status: Active

Case Number: 18 C 3230


Two House committees listened to testimony Monday from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and other groups involving an incident in which books provided to educate prisoners at the Danville Correctional Center were seized from the library by prison staff.

We'll hear the story of why 200 books were removed by staff from a prison library in Central Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) was sued by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for allegedly censoring her nonfiction book, “Blood In The Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.” Heather Thompson ordered her book from Amazon and had it sent to three inmates. One inmate received the book while the other two inmates received censorship notices without any explanation.

Two Illinois prisons have censored Blood in the Water, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by historian Heather Ann Thompson about the 1971 Attica prison uprising. Today, the Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center where I work is filing a lawsuit to challenge this unconstitutional and unethical censorship.

Anyone who wants to understand mass incarceration needs to understand Attica. And anyone who wants to understand Attica must read Heather Thompson’s new book, Blood in the Water, the first scholarly history of the Attica prison uprising. It is a riveting tale, but a difficult one to read. Several reviewers have noted that they had to stop reading at several points, to breathe and to wipe the tears from their eyes. I join that group. As difficult as it is, this is a story that must be told.

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