Skip navigation

Articles by Paul Wright

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

Welcome to the 29th anniversary issue of Prison Legal News! We published the first issue of PLN on May Day in 1990, which was 348 issues ago. At the time PLN consisted of 10 hand-typed pages and the inaugural issue was sent to 75 ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

This month’s cover story reports on the landmark First Step Act, which is the first criminal justice reform bill in decades that might actually benefit some prisoners. Until now, the cavalcade of criminal justice legislation that has emerged from Congress over the past 200 years has been ...

In Memoriam: Jane Kahn (1954-2018)

by Paul Wright

For the past 15 years, the San Francisco law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP has represented Prison Legal News and its parent organization, the Human Rights Defense Center, in censorship and public records cases in California, Nevada and Arizona, and co-counseled other cases with ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

This month’s cover story reports on the long-familiar use of prison slave labor to perform dangerous, dirty work that few others in the U.S. are willing to do – and for slave wages at that. Ironically, with the current political attacks on undocumented immigrants who normally perform ...

Obituary: Rick Anderson, 1941-2018

by Paul Wright

On Christmas Eve 2018, PLN contributing writer Rick Anderson died of congestive heart failure at his daughter’s home. Rick was a long-time journalist. He grew up in Hoquiam, Washington and went to work as a copy boy at the Post-Intelligencer in Seattle. That started his career in ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

We have long reported on the phenomenon of jailhouse lawyers and other prisoners who, upon release, have gone to law school and become attorneys. While that phenomenon has been occurring for decades, it appears to be picking up – perhaps because there are simply more people going ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

Prison Legal News published its first issue in May 1990. The month before that, Washington became the first state in the nation to enact a civil commitment process for sex offenders and to create a sex offender registry. Those laws were passed shortly after a mentally ill ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

You are reading the last issue of Prison Legal News for 2018. This month’s cover story reports on the widespread practice of prison and jail officials censoring books, magazines and correspondence sent to prisoners. Increasingly, that includes restrictions or bans on books mailed from non-profit, volunteer-run Books ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

For the past 28 years, Prison Legal News has reported on prison and jail medical care that ranges from abysmal to the barbaric. With the possible exception of California, whose prison system’s health care is under federal receivership, medical and mental health treatment for prisoners throughout the ...

Editorial: The Case Against Florida’s Amendment 4 on Felon Voting Rights

by Paul Wright

Florida leads the nation with over 1 million citizens disenfranchised and unable to vote due to felony convictions. The path to having their voting rights restored is long and difficult, and has been found unconstitutional by a federal judge. This November, Floridians who are able to vote ...