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From the Editor

by Paul Wright

This month’s cover story on Wellpath treads a familiar road for PLN readers of how profit-driven medical care has resulted in a huge expense for taxpayers and extremely low quality health care for hundreds of thousands of prisoners around the country. The fundamental flaw is a business model which aims to get as much money as possible out of the government for medical services that are often times not actually provided. The amazing thing is that people in government think this is somehow going to end well for anyone but the companies raking in the money from taxpayers.

We will be profiling other medical for-profit prison companies in upcoming issues of PLN, as we have in the past, to update readers on both the new players and the old ones.

We have received copies from the printer of The PLRA Handbook: Law and Practice Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act by John Boston. Anyone who pre-ordered the book should have received it by now or have it en route by the time you receive this issue. At almost 600 pages, this is an impressive book that literally answers every question a litigator can have about the PLRA. Ordering details are on page 37 of this issue. Note that we have a reduced prisoner rate for the book.

We have a number of other HRDC book projects underway, including a new and revised edition of Protecting Your Health and Safety and a new diabetes manual. We will announce the new books as they become available.

When readers order books from HRDC, please make sure that HRDC is in fact the publisher or distributor of the books you want. Every month we receive a few book orders for books sold by our advertisers, not HRDC. This delays your order, especially if you ordered books from HRDC. We only stock the books we list as sold by us.

The post office continues to be slow in its delivery of PLN, our mailings to subscribers, and mail from readers to us, as COVID-19 continues to cause staff shortages and other problems. No end seems to be in sight. Once we give the post office the mail, whether magazines or letters or book packages, we have no control over how fast or slowly they deliver it. One way you can help is to notify us promptly if you are moved or have a change of address.

Censorship of prisoner mail seems to be rising to new heights with prisons and jails increasingly digitizing mail. To the extent mail from HRDC is impacted, we will be taking action on this. If your mail is being affected by mail digitization please let us know, especially if it is mail from HRDC.

This issue also has an article from our friends at the Prison Policy Initiative about money transfer services and the extortionate fees they charge prisoners and their families to transmit funds. PLN has long reported on these abusive practices. Note that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a federal agency with the power to investigate and end these types of abuses but they need to hear from people impacted by these practices. Included in this issue is information about how to submit a complaint to the CFPB. If you or your loved ones are being charged high fees to transmit money, contact the CFPB with the details. Your complaints let the agency know this practice is affecting many people, and need to be made a high priority deserving of their investigative resources.

Enjoy this issue of PLN. Please encourage others to subscribe, and donate if you can. We appreciate your support for the work we do. 

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