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From the Editor

This is the last issue of PLN for 2012. By now, all PLN subscribers should have received our annual fundraising appeal; if you have not yet donated, and can afford to do so, then please do. This year we are asking our readers for donations to help support the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice. For almost a decade the Federal Communications Commission has been sitting on the Martha Wright petition, which asks the FCC to cap the cost of interstate phone calls made by prisoners.

We have put an enormous amount of resources and effort into the national campaign, along with our partner organizations, the Center for Media Justice and Working Narratives, to pressure the FCC to act. In October 2012 the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization of PLN, submitted a letter to the FCC supported by 60 other criminal justice organizations asking that they take action on the Wright petition. In November, a coalition of 110 immigration rights groups and academic professionals submitted a similar letter.

In addition to making a donation so we can keep up the pressure with the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, we are also asking our readers to write to the FCC and tell them how high phone rates have impacted both prisoners and their families. In mid-November 2012, the FCC posted hundreds of letters from prisoners on the public docket for the Wright petition. This is something that everyone can do, and it is critical that the people most affected by this issue – prisoners and their families – tell the FCC about the real-world impact of exorbitant prison phone rates. See page 13 for details on how to contact the FCC.

On November 15 there was a rally in front of the FCC’s office in Washington, D.C., urging them to act on the Wright petition. Representatives from HRDC, the Center for Media Justice and Working Narratives met with FCC commissioners to express our concerns, encourage them to act and tell them that ten years is far too long to ignore this issue. Tellingly, the only comments on the docket for the Wright petition that support the status quo of kickbacks and price gouging are from the telecom industry and prison and jail officials.

The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice has received extensive media coverage, which is building every week. If you want to make a donation, however big or small, it will definitely have an impact. Your tax deductible contribution will go to support our work on the campaign and keep pressure on the FCC until they act on the Wright petition. Your donation, and letters to the FCC, can make a real difference.

We are doing a large sample mailing of the December issue of PLN. If you are not a PLN subscriber and have received this issue, we hope you will read it and consider subscribing. If our content doesn’t interest you, please pass it along to others who might be interested. For PLN subscribers, the address label on the back of the magazine has an ex-piration date above your name; if there is no expiration date, this is a sample copy. We seek new subscribers in order to inform more people both in and out of prison about developments in the criminal justice system, and the more subscribers we have the easier it is for us to keep our costs down. A subscription to PLN and/or the books we distribute also make ideal holiday gifts.

As 2012 draws to a close, I would like to thank everyone who has supported HRDC and PLN. Our entire staff wishes our subscribers, supporters and readers a happy holiday season and best wishes for the new year.

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