Steven Sera said in a federal lawsuit that he wanted the American Correctional Association's "Standards for Adult Correctional Institutions" so he could determine whether the state Department of Correction is in compliance with prison standards.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/R14Fzs) that U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe's ruling on Thursday sided with prison officials, who said in a court filing that the book would give Sera "a roadmap as to how to sabotage daily operations as well as the accreditation process."
Volpe's ruling dismissed Sera's claims of intent.
"Mr. Sera believes he needs this book to identify shortcomings in the prison administration and support grievances he files against the ADC," Volpe wrote. "Mr. Sera's aims clearly go against the good order of the prison."
Sera's attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr., of Little Rock, argued that the book is harmless because it contains only general standards, not details about a particular prison. He noted that inmates have access to departmental policies, which are more detailed. Hall said he did not yet know whether Sera would appeal.
Department of Corrections spokesman Shea Wilson said officials were pleased with the ruling and said that even if he had the book, Sera wouldn't have been able to find many violations.
"Most of our units score at 100 percent compliance or near that," Wilson said.
Sera, 54, who is housed at the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys, was convicted in 1998 of rape, kidnapping, sexual abuse and attempted rape, and was sentenced to 30 years.
After his Arkansas convictions, Sera pleaded guilty to similar attacks in Texas and Missouri and is serving his sentences from those states concurrently. He will be eligible for parole in 2018.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.