From the Editor
by Paul Wright
I would like to thank everyone who donated to HRDC’s annual fundraiser last year. When we started our fundraiser, our goal was to raise enough money to be able to hire a full-time investigative reporter. Within a few weeks, though, we were evicted by the City of Lake Worth from the office we had occupied for over four years, and forced to relocate. The short-notice eviction forced us to have to quickly find new office space and incur additional expenses we had not anticipated. Fortunately, many of our readers and supporters stepped up and made additional donations to help us with those unexpected costs.
The first week of January, we moved into our new office and the move went quickly and uneventfully. We now rent our own office building, which we do not share with other tenants, and it meets our current needs. The downside is that we had a significant increase in rent and expenses from what we were paying at the prior location.
I would like to thank everyone who made a donation to help us with the move. The pictures show our new office as well as all HRDC staff except Deborah Golden, a staff attorney in our Washington, D.C. office, Michelle Dillon in our Seattle office and Monte McCoin in our Nashville office. Longtime PLN readers will recall that until 1996, we were an all-volunteer organization with no paid employees. As recently as 2013, when we relocated to Florida, we only had nine staff members. Now we have 20!
As noted above, the original goal of our fundraiser last year was to raise enough money to hire a full-time investigative journalist, with a goal of $75,000. With your help, our efforts were more than successful and we were able to hire Steve Horn, who started on March 12, 2018 as HRDC’s first staff reporter. Steve comes to HRDC after almost six years working as a journalist for DeSmogBlog, a leading news website focused on environmental issues. We expect that very soon readers will be enjoying Steve’s investigative journalism on issues affecting all of us, both inside prison and out. Welcome, Steve!
Thanks again to all our readers who donated to our annual fundraiser and helped us both with our moving expenses as well as being able to hire Steve.
This month’s cover story on the environmental impact of prisons continues the decades of coverage PLN has devoted to this topic, and reinforces the need to immediately close toxic prisons such as those built on or near landfills, Superfund cleanup sites, coal mines and uranium mines, as well as facilities that have contaminated water supplies or are susceptible to other environmental hazards.
Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe to this magazine and to our companion publication, Criminal Legal News, which together provide complete coverage of all aspects of our nation’s criminal justice system from beginning to end.