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From the Editor

COVID continues raging through the nation’s prisons and jails while the political class largely ignores it. At last count, at least 20% of American prisoners have been infected with COVID. In some states, the rates are higher. A recent article in The Sacramento Bee stated that half of the state’s prisoners have tested positive for COVID and at seven California prisons over 70% of the prisoners have tested positive. The stunning revelation was that 100% of the prisoners at the California Rehabilitation Center had tested positive. How does a prison achieve a 100% infection rate? We will be reporting more details in an upcoming issue of PLN.

Prisoners have generally received low priority in state vaccination plans. As vaccines become more widespread, we expect that prisoners will be vaccinated at higher rates and COVID deaths and illness will at least subside. How long before that actually happens and how many more deaths will ensue remains to be seen. Outside of the prison context, HRDC’s offices have been closed to the public and we have only had a reduced staff processing subscriptions and book orders on site. This has been an extreme burden on us organizationally but to date, none of our staff has gotten sick and we have maintained our organizational capacity to advocate and inform for prisoner rights nationally.

Our COVID trial subscription plan has been a great success with many prisoners who received six-issue subscriptions renewing for the full subscription period. We have provided trial subscriptions to PLN to all prisoners who sent $1 for the six-issue subscription. We are again extending the offer. Send $1 and we will provide a six-issue subscription to PLN. This offer is only good for new subscribers who have at least one year remaining on their sentence, and does not apply to renewals or previous subscribers.

This is a great opportunity to become informed about prisoner rights issues and help us grow our readership and subscriber base. Please renew your subscription before you receive your first renewal notice or as soon afterward as possible as it saves us much-needed money spent on postage and printing costs. Please let others know about this special $1 offer.

If you’re interested in helping sponsor prisoner subscriptions, please donate to do so. It costs HRDC roughly $15, at our break-even cost, to provide six issues of PLN to readers via the postal system. $1,500 buys 100 prisoners a six-month subscription to PLN. Each issue of PLN is read by at least eight people, so it generates a much wider information impact beyond the individual subscriber receiving it. Donations can be sent to HRDC, just label them “COVID donations.”

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