Should an online poll determine what is cruel and unusual?

The Berkeley County jail in South Carolina has a terrifying policy:

Our inmates are only allowed to receive soft back bibles in the mail directly from the publisher. They are not allowed to have magazines, newspapers, or any other type of books.

First thought: I’d die if I were arrested in Berkeley County.

Second thought: it says something about the county that they’ve had this policy for years, and are only now moving on one complaint made in 2008. The comments section on the article is enlightening, too — apparently, prisoners ought to be digging ditches, not reading, and if we let them read magazines, next thing you know they’ll be demanding vacations in Vegas.

But here’s a snapshot of the South Carolina citizenry’s views on this issue. The numbers might change soon, though, as a more enlightened world intrudes.

Should prisoners be able to read whatever they want?

Yes 22%
No 66%
It depends on the crime. 11%