From the Editor
by Paul Wright
When Prison Legal News first started publishing in 1990, the Internet only existed for the military and a few academic institutions. PLN made its first online appearance in 1998 on what was a fairly simple website by today’s standards. We have gone through several site designs and changes since then, and I am pleased to announce that on May 15, 2014 we launched three new and updated websites for www.prisonlegalnews.org, www.humanrightsdefensecenter.org and www.prisonphonejustice.org.
Our new sites, especially the PLN and Prison Phone Justice websites, are much more user friendly and utilize state-of-the-art search engine technology to make our tens of thousands of articles, court rulings, publications, back issues of PLN and other content quick and easy to find. No other website has more prison- and jail-related news and information than PLN’s site, and our Prison Phone Justice site is the only one that tracks prison and jail phone contracts, rates, commission kickbacks and related data.
Best of all, most of the information on our sites is free. On PLN’s website nearly all of our content, including PLN back issues, are available at no cost. The only content we charge to access is verdict and settlement information and our brief bank with almost 7,000 complaints, briefs, motions, judgments, administrative rulings, depositions, expert reports and more.
If you have Internet access, please check out our new websites; if not, let those who do know about them. PLN also maintains a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, with around 900 likes and 2,500 followers, respectively. Further, PLN provides a free news email list. Each weekday we send out an email digest with 6-10 news stories related to prisons and jails; you can sign up on the PLN website under “subscribe.” When we switched over to the new email list service we were not able to import our old subscribers, so if you were on PLN’s email list previously and stopped receiving our messages, please sign up again.
In addition to being easier to use and having vastly improved search capabilities, our new websites still allow for PLN subscription purchases and renewals, book orders and donations. The Human Rights Defense Center’s site contains information about HRDC’s board of directors, staff, annual reports, news coverage and much more.
We always welcome suggestions and feedback on how we can make things better. We also welcome contributions to our websites – particularly verdicts and settlements where people have won cases against corrections and law enforcement agencies, and contributions to our brief bank in the form of winning briefs, motions, expert depositions, discovery requests, etc. For our publications library, we are especially interested in obtaining and posting private prison contracts and similar documents.
Our cover story this month on Realignment in California focuses attention on the dismal state of California jails, and how the absence of meaningful sentencing reform continues to be a problem as the legislative and executive branches lack the courage and political will to shorten sentences to reduce the state’s prison population to constitutional levels. As more prisoners are held in California jails for longer periods of time, we are already seeing horrific jails getting even worse in terms of being unable or unwilling to provide adequate medical and mental health care. As a result, the problems resulting from overcrowding and overincarceration in California are simply being shifted and postponed, not resolved.
Enjoy this issue of PLN; please encourage others to subscribe and to check out our new and updated websites.
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