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From the Editor

by Paul Wright

I want to thank everyone who has donated to HRDC’s annual fundraiser. Of course, anytime is a good time to donate and we are always in need of funding and support, not just at the end of the year. I would like to encourage readers to become monthly sustaining donors. Small donations of even $5 or $10 a month have a significant impact on organizations like HRDC, which rely on individual contributions. Alas, and not for lack of trying on my part, we do not have billionaire backers nor do we receive millions of dollars in foundation funding. 

The task of supporting an independent prisoners’ rights media organization falls to people like you, who are reading Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, and who value our reporting. At the end of the day, we are the only publisher in the United States that not only cares if prisoners can read what we have to say about the criminal justice system, but actually does something to ensure prisoners can receive our materials, by filing lawsuits against prisons and jails that censor our publications.

If these are issues you believe are worth supporting, then please make a donation to the Human Rights Defense Center. 

Our latest self-published book, The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct, by former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull, is being very well received and so far everyone who has reviewed it has found it extremely useful. Anyone interested in challenging a criminal conviction in state or federal court that has a potential claim of prosecutorial misconduct should read this book; likewise for attorneys who litigate or advise clients on such claims. Ordering information is on page 37 of this issue.

This month’s cover story explores issues related to family separation that affect tens of thousands of parents every year, but because they are U.S. citizens and convicted of crimes, they get little to no attention from the corporate mainstream media. One of the ironies of the American police state is that parents cannot terminate their rights to their children, but the government can and does on a regular basis. Prisoners often face parental termination proceedings because they have been convicted of a crime and generally are not provided with counsel or court access to challenge the termination of their parental rights.

2020 will mark PLN’s 30th year of publishing, making it the longest continuously published prisoners’ rights magazine in the U.S., if not the world. We have grown steadily over the years and continue to bring our readers useful and timely information about the criminal justice system. We have also worked hard to keep our subscription rates as low as possible. You can help us celebrate our anniversary by building our subscriber base – if each person reading PLN who is not a subscriber would subscribe, or get someone else to subscribe, our subscription numbers would increase which in turn would lower our per-issue costs. That would let us do even more in terms of investigative journalism, advocacy and litigation.

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

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