State News

State settles with imprisoned urban fiction author

Posted March 8, 2010

— North Carolina is paying $10,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by an "urban fiction" author who says officials destroyed a book manuscript that he wrote behind bars.

A settlement agreement filed on Monday says the Department of Correction will overturn disciplinary actions against the man and establish new policies allowing inmates to prepare manuscripts. Attorneys say prison officials destroyed a 310-page handwritten manuscript that author Victor L. Martin wrote during his incarceration.

Martin is currently being held as a habitual felon, with previous convictions for vehicle larceny, escape from prison and possession of stolen goods. He's due for release in 2018.

A Department of Correction spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

“Writing books is not a crime," said attorney Swain Wood. who represented Martin in the dispute. "After being put in prison, Victor Martin discovered that writing books could transform his life for the better and inspire others. He should be commended for that. State officials should be commended for realizing that punishing Mr. Martin for writing books was wrong and that the old policy was unconstitutional and had to be changed.”


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  • Tax Man Mar 8, 2010

    Doesn't matter what he was in for - destroying a person's property is unconstitutional, even for a prison! There are many people in prison in NC who could be productive if allowed to - get their lives back together and pay taxes. But the system just locks them up for many years and when they get out does nothing to help them get back into society as productive citizens. Some crimes are just stupid to lock people up for. But NC is a prison mentality and we love to lock em up!

  • noreplytome2 Mar 8, 2010

    Anyone else remember the days of lower crime rates, and prisoners has very FEW rights?

  • sap0953 Mar 8, 2010

    Well first of all he had nothing else to do so why not write a should have been destroyed. Why should I pay for a prisoner to do something to make money from? Go to jail and make money at the same time...something is not right with that. While you are in prison, you do not have certain I don't want to see a prisoner treated badly but there is a reason they are in prison!!!!