Farewell to “Prison Law Blog,” Hello to “Evolving Standards of Decency”
As I noted a few weeks ago, I am officially placing this blog on hiatus as I am moving onto some new endeavors. But there are two pieces of good news. First, I am happy to announce that a new blog, “Evolving Standards of Decency,” will be picking up where I left off and covering prisoners’ rights litigation. This new blog is spearheaded by Margaret R. Moreland, a lawyer and law librarian at the Pace University Law Library, and aims to “creat[e] a forum for discussing the constitutional rights of those in America’s prisons and jails.” I hope you will bookmark the site and check it often.
Second, in the (relatively short) time since I began this blog, I have noticed a significant uptick in mainstream press coverage of mass incarceration in America. Perhaps this is just because the economic downturn has revealed the high cost to the state and federal governments of maintaining one of the world’s largest prison populations (as a percentage of the overall population), but in any event, I’ve been glad to see these issues gain more prominence in public discourse. I should note that most of the news coverage of criminal justice issues that I read and linked to while maintaining this blog appeared in local and regional newspapers, whether Bob Ortega’s work at the Arizona Republic or the recent Times-Picayune series on Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate. It’s now easier than ever for far-flung folks like me to read local newspaper stories from around the country, and yet local newspapers everywhere are facing dire budget cuts. As newspapers continue to change and mutate in the digital era, I hope that we as a society will find a way to maintain local and regional watchdog reporting.
I will leave this blog up as a permanent archive (or anyway, as long as WordPress.com will host it), so posts will continue to show up in Google searches and the like (although of course, I can’t guarantee that all of the links to outside articles and sites will continue to work indefinitely). For the record, here are the Prison Law Blog posts that have received the most hits over the lifetime of the blog:
- Mass Incarceration: Breaking Down the Data by State
- Realignment in California: The Basics, Plus How Counties Are Preparing
- “Truly Appalling” (on California prison conditions litigation)
- “Wisconsin prison population 2.5 times larger than Minnesota’s“
I started this blog mainly for two reasons — to give myself a structured way to keep track of news and case law relevant to prison/jail legal and policy issues and to practice writing about these issues for a general readership not necessarily trained in law. The blog was great for helping me toward those goals, but more importantly, connected me with people who are interested in criminal justice policy around the country and from many walks of life — a benefit of blogging that I hadn’t even really expected going in.
Thanks so much to all of you who have read, linked, tweeted, Facebooked, emailed, blogged, and otherwise shared my posts. I hope that the blog has been (and, in its archived form, will continue to be) a useful resource. Although the blog has never attracted huge numbers (though there were the few days, for which I am grateful, when it was linked by heavy-hitters like Ta-Nehisi Coates or the Daily Dish), it has always received a steady readership including lawyers, academics, and journalists but also friends and family members of men and women who are in jail or prison. I hope that the thoughts and conversations sparked by this blog will continue at the new “Evolving Standards” blog, in the blogosphere more generally, and in your families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities.