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Articles by Dan Pens

Fines Against WA Civil Commitment Center Stayed

In the May 2000 issue of PLN we reported the progress of a federal court injunction issued in 1994 against Washington's Special Commitment Center (SCC), the nation's first civil commitment facility specifically for the long-term detention and "treatment" of "sexual predators." In his Nov. 15, 1999 contempt ruling, U.S. District ...

Prison Realty/CCA Verges on Bankruptcy

On March 31, 2000, Prison Realty Trust, Inc. announced operating losses of $62 million for the year ended December 31, 1999. Its largest subsidiary and chief tenant, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), reported a net loss of $203 million for 1999. Independent auditors of both Prison Realty and CCA indicated ...

Abuse of Force at Virginia's Supermax

Shoot 'Em if They Step Out of Line

by Dan Pens

Shortly after publication of the July PLN, cover article: "Strip Mining Human Rights in Virginia's Supermax Dungeons", PLN received a letter from a prisoner at Red Onion, one of Virginia's two new "supermax" prisons. "You wouldn't believe it," he ...

Virginia Juvenile Dies of Accidental Heart Attack

The state police were phoned and asked to send a trooper to formally charge Dandridge with assault. Meanwhile, Oak Ridge officials say, the youth was observed every five minutes through his cell door window. Nobody went into the cell to check on him because he appeared to have calmed down. ...

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to another edition of PLN. Five years ago my first editorial appeared in the October 1994 issue. Sadly, this will be my last. I am stepping down as co-editor, but will remain active with the PLN collective as a contributing writer.

In 1994 I was caged in ...

CCPOA Pimping in the California State Assembly

A self-proclaimed "whore" for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) in July 1999 helped kill Attorney General Bill Lockyer's proposed legislation for forming a state-level prosecutorial unit to investigate alleged crimes by state prison guards.

As it stands now, only local district attorneys (or U.S. Attorneys for federal crimes) ...

Insanity, Brutality and Fatality: Florida's X-Wing Marks the End of the Line

Upon the ranks of such as we,
They enforce their mastery.
And yet we bleed the same as they,
The tie that binds us day to day.
The public interest uppermost,
So some say while playing host.
But if the public really knew
The kind of hell their prisons brew. ...

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to another issue of PLN. Labor Day is upon us a holiday that used to commemorate workers' struggle. But what does it mean now? Summer's last hurrah? One final barbecue or hiking trip and back home just in time for the football kickoff?

Me, I still like ...

Strip Mining Human Rights in Virginia's Supermax Dungeons

Red Onion State Prison stands out like a hideous scar among southwest Virginia's otherwise beautiful, rolling and wooded hills. Viewed from the air it looks like a mountain whose crown was hacked off and leveled flat. I remember looking at an aerial photo that appeared in the New York Times ...

From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to another issue of PLN . I'd like to bring to your attention a slight change in PLN 's mailing address. The U.S. Postal Services decided that mail addressed to "private mail boxes" (those handy mail centers that offer friendlier and cheaper p.o. box service) needs to ...