In many ways we have come full circle. Between 1990 and 1996, when my father, Rollin Wright, was PLN's publisher and office manager, our mailing address was in Lake Worth. Our business office was then based in Seattle, Washington for 14 years, and for the past three years it has been in Brattleboro, Vermont.
By moving to Florida we are relocating to a state on the front lines of criminal justice issues such as prison privatization, overincarceration and felon disenfranchisement. We are now based in the same county (Palm Beach) as GEO Group, the nation's second-largest private prison company; additionally, Florida has the third-highest state prison population in the U.S.
We are timing the move so it does not interfere with our work schedule, but there will be a roughly one-week period when our entire office is in transit between Vermont and Florida and we can not process orders and subscriptions. We expect there to be minimal disruption. All mail sent to our Vermont and Seattle addresses will continue to be forwarded on a regular basis, so if you wrote to us at either of those addresses, rest assured that your correspondence will eventually reach us.
I would like to thank our employees who decided to stay in Vermont – Mel Motel, Julie Etter, Alissa Hull, Dennis Curran and Zach Phillips – for their hard work and dedication to criminal justice reform, and the great job they have done over the years at PLN/HRDC. While we will miss our friends and supporters in Vermont, we are looking forward to opening our office in South Florida.
We are currently hiring for several positions in our new office, including a prison phone justice campaign director, paralegal, office manager, office assistant and staff attorney. For job descriptions and to see if the positions are still available, please visit HRDC's website at www.humanrightsdefensecenter.org, under the "employment" section.
When contacting PLN, please keep your correspondence brief and to the point. Do not send us legal documents related to your criminal case or conviction as there is nothing we can do to help you with your criminal case. Likewise, with civil actions, we want to know about cases our readers win or settle so we can report them in PLN. Informing us that a lawsuit has been filed is not useful, as we generally report only significant milestones in a case, such as a preliminary injunction being issued, a favorable summary judgment order or a settlement or jury verdict for the plaintiff. If you win or settle a case, please send us the verdict, judgment order or settlement as well as the complaint or claim, so we can report it.
Our cover story this month examines prison closures across the country. While some states have closed prisons, their prison populations remain largely the same while in others there have been no closures although their prison populations have dropped. In many ways this illustrates one of the problems of using prisons as a form of economic development to prop up rural economies, by demonstrating why the practice of caging people as a jobs program is not economically viable. Prisons have proven far easier to build and open than to close. Meanwhile, the federal prison population continues to grow exponentially with no end in sight.
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