Since we started publishing PLN in 1990, the injustices of the parole system, or that of never-ending punishment and sentences without end, has been an enduring theme. In the 1970s it was prisoners’ rights activists and advocates who called for an end to parole and determinate sentencing as a means of righting the sentencing injustices that abound with a parole system. Five decades later these same problems continue. We have reported on the political vagaries of California’s parole process extensively over the past 26 years; this month’s cover story continues that coverage and exemplifies the axiom that the more things change the more they remain the same, at least with regards to our criminal justice system.
I would like to thank everyone who donated to our annual fundraiser. We raised over $60,000, which will allow us to hire another staff attorney to litigate and vindicate the rights of prisoners, their families and publishers who wish to communicate with them. Your donations make a real difference in the work we do and the advocacy we are able to undertake. I hope more readers and supporters consider becoming monthly donors and making a donation every month. Even small donations of $5 or $10 a month add up and make a difference. We have significant developments coming up at the Human Rights Defense Center, PLN’s parent organization, and will be reporting them as they occur.
One area where we continue to expand our advocacy work is among attorneys. With over a million lawyers in the U.S., the issue is not whether we need more attorneys but what those million lawyers are doing. I am a board member of the National Police Accountability Project and in March 2017, NPAP and HRDC will be hosting a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar on police, prison and jail civil rights litigation in West Palm Beach, Florida. We will be bringing together the best civil rights lawyers in the U.S. and teaching them how to better litigate cases against law enforcement agencies that violate the rights of citizens – whether it is false arrest, excessive force or medical neglect. We hope this becomes an annual tradition.
Florida is a frontline state on issues ranging from mass incarceration and prisoner abuse to police shootings and an overall lack of accountability. We hope that by providing such CLEs, local attorneys will learn from others and be able to provide representation in civil rights cases. More details are available on the HRDC and NPAP websites. The CLE is only available to attorneys who represent plaintiffs in civil rights litigation.
Enjoy this issue of PLN, and please encourage others to subscribe and donate to support our longstanding advocacy work.
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