Skip navigation

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

Prison Legal News has long reported on control units in general and the federal “super max” prisons in particular, first USP Marion in Illinois and then ADX in Florence, Colorado after it opened in 1995. Many of the worst human rights abuses in American prisons occur in segregation units, and the entire concept of a “super max” facility based on total isolation reveals its true nature as a torture center and inherent human rights violation. This month’s cover story, reprinted from The Nation, details the practice of force-feeding prisoners held in solitary confinement units, who are so isolated and silenced that they consider starving themselves to be the only means of protest available.

Just to be clear, the force-feeding of prisoners in the U.S. is a thinly disguised form of torture in itself. That it happens in the secret bowels of the American police state far from public view merely highlights the horrific nature of the abuse to which prisoners denied self-determination are subjected. While the force-feeding of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp in Cuba received widespread media coverage, the same practice in federal and state prisons has received little attention. [See: PLN, Sept. 2016, p.24].

I am pleased to announce that we are in the final production stages of The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct by Alissa Hull, a former HRDC staff attorney. The book follows the format of our other title in this series, The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel (2nd Ed.), with an overview of the relevant law plus extensive case citations where courts have granted relief to criminal defendants. We expect to have the book ready to ship in mid-September and will announce when it is available.

We continue to be very busy at HRDC, with censorship cases pending against prisons and jails nationwide. If your copy of Prison Legal News or Criminal Legal News or any books distributed by HRDC are censored, please write and inform us of the censorship along with any documentation such as grievance responses. All too often the only notice of censorship we receive is sent to us by our subscribers, not prison or jail officials.

If you believe in the independent journalism that PLN has produced for the past 29 years, please consider making a donation to support our work. Becoming a monthly sustainer and donating even $5 or $10 a month makes an enormous difference in the impact we can have. For decades we have delivered high-quality, useful news and information to our readers, and we continue to increase the scope and breadth of our content and advocacy work.

Enjoy this issue of PLN, and please encourage others to subscribe and donate.