That’s one of the things that got me to start Prison Legal News: my annoyance and, frankly, my disgust, with corporate media. At least 30 states in this country have enough going on in their criminal justice systems to fill a monthly newsletter. We know more about what’s happening in the CIA’s torture camps, or their assassination program, than we know about what’s happening in the state prisons down the road from us. In most states today, the prison system is the biggest state agency. In Michigan, one out of every three state employees works for the Department of Corrections. Even though these prison systems are devouring huge chunks of the budget, there’s no news coverage of them.

We’re advocacy-oriented, but the facts are what they are. I’m proud that in 22 years we’ve never had to retract a story. We don’t editorialize; there really isn’t a lot to say. If you as the reader don’t have a problem with people dying of medical neglect for easily treatable illnesses, or with prisoners being raped by the people who are supposed to be guarding them, or billions of tax dollars being funneled off to private corporations, nothing I can tell you is going to change your mind. 

 

Alysia Santo is a former assistant editor at CJR.