From the Editor
While we cannot do an in-person event this year as we had planned, a virtual event allows us to reach our supporters and lets more people know about the Human Rights Defense Center’s history in ways that doing events tied to a city do not. Author and activist Victoria Law will be the master of ceremonies for the event and Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr. will be our keynote speaker. I will be speaking at the event as well. If you do not have Internet access to attend, please let friends and family who can know about it. Tickets are only $29.99 each, or $30 for 30 years!
When PLN started in 1990 I never thought that 30 years later it would still be publishing or that I would still be its editor. At many levels, things are far worse for prisoners than when we started publishing. Starting with the most obvious fact: the more than doubling of the prison and jail population from 1 million in 1990 to its current 2.5 million. Americans are surveilled, policed, caged and killed at much higher levels than ever before in American history. The recent Black Lives Matter protests indicate that perhaps Americans are getting tired of being slaughtered like animals by the police and caged in massive numbers. It remains to be seen if anything positive comes of the recent protests and uprisings and it is sad, but not unsurprising, that among the many calls for long overdue police reform, there is a deafening silence about the need and urgency for prison and jail reform. As we report in every issue of PLN, the police state killings don’t stop at the prison gate. If anything, they intensify and increase. And there is much that we don’t even know about.
Today HRDC is doing a lot more to help prisoners and their families. We are publishing two magazines, not just one. We publish and distribute books and we litigate and advocate on behalf of prisoners around the country. The biggest thing that has not changed between 1990 and today is the simplest: we need money to keep doing what we do.
There has been and is very little in the way of foundation funding for anything that smacks of improving conditions of confinement. We receive no government grants or funding except when we successfully sue the government. To keep the doors open and the computers running we continue to rely on subscriptions and advertising income, donations from our readers and wise use of limited resources on our part. If you are interested in criminal justice reform, no one gives you more bang for the buck than HRDC. We have a lean operation that is efficient and very cost effective for everything that we do.
If you can, please make a donation to support our work and let others know about us. We rely on individual donors like you, to keep everything going.
As readers noticed, for the past several months we were providing free subscriptions to PLN. Alas, the grant we received to pay for it has expired and we have not been able to find any other funders. I hope you will extend your subscription at the regular rates. We will save requests received after October 31 in the event donors wish to sponsor subscriptions. To ensure you receive a subscription, please subscribe at the regular rate.
To make it for 30 years, PLN has relied on the help and support of literally thousands of people: our writers, our volunteers, our employees, our advertisers, our board members, our donors and the dozens of lawyers that have represented PLN over the years to ensure that prisoners can actually receive the most censored publication in America. At every step of our existence, we would not be here if it were not for everyone pulling together to help. The most important people for any publication are its readers and subscribers. You are the ones who make it possible, and encourage us, to keep publishing. If you like PLN and find value in what we have to say, subscribe and encourage others to subscribe as well. No one else stands up for prisoners and their families like we do, as we have for the past 30 years.