Porn for prisoners: Supreme Court gets involved

The rights of people convicted of serious sexual offences to use pornographic magazines is to be tested in Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court, it has been reported.

Swedish legal news service Pointlex said the court would take up the case of a prisoner being held at Härnosand prison on an eight year sentence for crimes including rape. He had his right to use pornographic magazines upheld by the Administrative Court of Appeal in the spring.

The Prison Service had wanted to ban the man from receiving adult material, including men’s magazines, which it said could have negative effects on his therapy and pose a threat to prison security.

The man appealed the decision to the lower Administrative Court, which found in his favour, ruling that freedom of expression laws overrided security considerations.

It said that men’s magazines were defined as having articles which were sexually stimulating for men, mixed with articles on subjects including technology and violence. A ban on this would therefore be arbitrary, the court decided.

The court also referred to a comment by the Justice Ombudsman that magazines deemed to be unsuitable could not be confiscated, even if to do so was important for treatment of the prisoner.

The Prison Service appealed the decision to the Administrative Court of Appeal, which decided that the security issues were so vague that they could not justify restrictions on freedom of speech.