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From the Editor

By Paul Wright

One thing that has remained a constant in the past 33 years of publishing PLN has been the woefully inadequate medical care that prisoners receive around the country. A significant portion of our coverage involves reporting on healthcare that ranges from nonexistent to barbaric and it drives a significant part of detention facility litigation. This month’s cover story from the Prison Policy Initiative gives a good national overview of where things stand which tends to confirm what prisoners and everyone else involved with the criminal justice system already knows: American prisons and jails are not the place to get sick.

Readers have been complaining about delays in receiving their subscriptions to both PLN and Criminal Legal News. One thing that used to work half way well and seems to be disintegrating before our eyes is the US postal system. Since Covid started in 2020 we have seen a steady decline in mail delivery times and services. Our printer is located in Oregon and our magazines are mailed from Portland. Since 2005 we have used the same printer and normally issues mailed would be delivered on the west coast within a week and to the East coast within 2 weeks at most. Those times have now doubled. This also applies to first class mail going to and from our Florida offices.

We have pushed up our production schedule a bit to try to make up for this but the post office is not getting any better. When subscribers receive renewal letters, please renew your subscription as soon possible to avoid missing any issues. Do not assume we will receive your renewal within a few days if mailed as it used to. It may literally take weeks. Currently all the government is promising is more expensive postal rates and declines in service and efficiency and they are delivering on both.

The saddest duty I have as editor is reporting on the passing of HRDC’s many friends and supporters. The downside of being around as long as we have is that inevitably more people die. David Zuckerman was a Seattle criminal defense attorney who specialized in post-conviction relief and was one of our earliest supporters. He wrote a number of articles and columns for PLN and also represented HRDC on various matters pro bono. He died in April at the age of 63 from complications related to Posterior Cortical Atrophy, an illness related to Alzheimer’s.

In his many years as an attorney David successfully represented a number of prisoners on death row in Washington state and non-capital prisoners in both state and federal court. He also litigated cases on behalf of the Washington ACLU around various civil liberties issues. David was exceptionally brilliant and dedicated to serving his clients and the cause of justice alike. He will be sorely missed and everyone at HRDC extends our condolences to his family.

Our reporting on verdicts and settlements continues to be an important part of our news coverage. If you win or settle a lawsuit against a law enforcement agency please send a copy of the complaint and the settlement or verdict to PLN so we can report it in an upcoming issue. Older cases, more than 18 months old, we will post to our online database. This is only for cases that have been won, we cannot report on cases until they have been resolved on the merits.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and encourage others to subscribe!