Sad news, currently incarcerated citizens of Connecticut: your dirty movies are now contraband.

State officials are banning porn from prison, saying state employees should not be forced to confront inmates' objectionable materials while they're working. Those inmates are not taking kindly to this decision, and several have complained in writing (to the state and to the Associated Press) and threatened to sue.

The department has received about three dozen letters from inmates, many of them form letters, claiming the recently adopted ban violates the inmates' First Amendment rights. Some of those letters also were sent to The Associated Press.

They suggest either lifting the ban or providing inmates with alternatives such as "cable programming that offers and displays nudity, also sexual activity."

A reasonable attempt at compromise. Now a constitutional question for the Constitution State. Is taking away an imprisoned man's Hustler equivalent to banning Ulysses?

"Similar regulations have been used to censor an image of the Sistine Chapel, newspapers and magazines with lingerie ads and the novel 'Ulysses,'" Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said in a statement.

[DOC spokesman Brian] Garnett said the department is confident the ban will survive any legal challenge. The ban doesn't include material that could be considered literary, educational, artistic or scientific, he said. Decisions on whether a picture meets those exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

"It's, to put it mildly, not a difficult decision when it comes to most of this material," he said.

Now, the state is not utterly unfeeling, and will take into account certain ongoing commitments related to banned sexy materials. To wit: "Inmates were given a year to dispose of any pornography they might have, which will allow any current magazine subscriptions to run their course, he said." (No word on the fate of any multi-year subscription renewals.)

This will not be the first time the state has tried to impose rules on what prisoners can possess. Existing law banned only "deviant" materials, including those depicting "children, bestiality, sadomasochism or the use of force." But that means someone had to decide, case by case, what was deviant and what was delicto.

"There was a never-ending problem with definitions of what you were trying to ban and keeping up with what was out there," Garnett said.

Standing guard against the leer of the sensualist? Well. It does sound a little like Ulysses now.