From the Editor
by Paul Wright
Welcome to the first issue of Prison Legal News for the New Year! By now you should have received our fundraiser packet with our last annual report. First, I would like to thank everyone who has donated to help support our work with the Federal Communications Commission to ensure they cap the cost of intrastate prison and jail phone calls. If you have not yet donated it is not too late; we can use all donations, large or small, to push our Prison Phone Justice Campaign forward to victory.
One prison phone company, Securus, is bragging that it has paid $1.4 billion in kickbacks to prison and jail officials. All of that money has been gouged from prisoners and their families, in addition to the company’s profits. We need your financial support to be able to provide the detailed and accurate data the FCC relies upon when making decisions to regulate the prison phone industry.
PLN’s parent non-profit, the Human Rights Defense Center, is the only organization advocating for prisoners and their families at the FCC that has actual hard data, including information related to contracts, phone rates, kickback commission amounts and ancillary fees. Prior FCC orders have cited to HRDC’s comments and data dozens of times. But we need your support, as we receive NO foundation funding for our prison phone justice campaign. If this issue is important to you, please make a donation and encourage others to do so.
Remember that HRDC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization registered as such with the IRS and the State of Washington. We occasionally receive donations from prisoner groups around the country: Jaycees, veterans chapters, lifers clubs, NAACP affiliates and similar organizations. If you belong to such a group and it is allowed to make donations, please keep HRDC in mind as a non-profit that needs support.
While prisons and jails consume much of our reporting, this month’s cover story takes a look at halfway houses – a growing segment of the prison system that often is just as brutal and poorly managed as secure correctional facilities. The concept itself is interesting, with the notion that prisoners need to be “transitioned” back into society when there is no “transition” from society when people are initially locked up. Also, over the past 30 years many states have, by policy or statute, excluded prisoners from halfway houses who arguably need the most help reintegrating into society. Namely, prisoners who have served lengthy sentences or those convicted of violent or sex-related crimes.
Finally, the Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual by Dan Manville is ready and available for shipping. Everyone who preordered an advance copy should have their order by the time you receive this issue of PLN. The book is in stock and ships within 24 hours of receipt of your order; it is a must-have for all prisoners facing disciplinary charges and prison libraries. If you have not ordered your copy yet, they are $49.95 postpaid and only available from PLN.
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