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From The Editor
A number of readers have written and asked us about receiving back issues of PLN. Unfortunetly we do not have any back issues available. We really do have a shoestring budget, what this means is that we can only afford to print the exact number of PLN's that we have mailing labels for. So once that issue is mailed out and whatever extras we have are mailed as samples in response to inquiries that issue is no longer available.
From reading PLN you might get the impression that prisoners only win cases and never lose. This isn't true by any means. Published cases tend to run against prisoners for the most part. Our thinking is that what prisoner litigants need to know is the winning cases, the losers will more than likely be brought to their attention by either the attorney general or the court. An exception to this is instructive losses where the court gives it's reasons for ruling against the prisoner and leaves open the possibility that a different argument or factual setting would have resulted in a different outcome. We welcome articles from readers discussing prisoner rights litigation, differences between court opinions, etc.
Last month we sent a sample copy of PLN, along with subscription information, to every prison law library in a medium and maximum security prison in the US. If any of our prison readers have any input in the decision to subscribe to publications please try to get your law library to subscribe to PLN. This will make PLN available to a wider pool of readers and by subscribing at our institutional rate of $25.00 a year it will help subsidize our indigent readers who are unable to afford donations. If the law library is unwilling or unable to subscribe perhaps funds can be appropriated from the inmate welfare fund or other sources within the prison system.
We encourage readers to send us articles on efforts to improve prison conditions at the prisons they are located in and on any newsworthy events or happenings. Do not worry about your writing skills, none of us are professional writers so you are in good company. The mainstream media all too often ignores the plight and struggle of prisoners which is why PLN is here, but we need your input to be able to inform more people of what is happening in the Amerikan gulag archipelago.
The astute reader will notice that we are not running our customary plug for the Prison/Community Alliance (PCA) on the last page of the newsletter. This is at the request of PCA representative Carrie Roth, who has disassociated herself from PLN over differences in our respective approaches to doing legislative work. The PLN drafted, and the PCA backed, last year's proposed citizen's initiative to abolish the parole board. When law-makers offered a questionable compromise, one that increased penalties and contained many draconian provisions but eliminated the parole board, PLN held its nose and went along with the PCA's support for the bill. When the provision to abolish the board was removed from the bill, however, PLN stopped its support. But Mrs. Roth continued her support for the proposed law to the very end. This support was criticized by a reader in the letters section of our July issue. It was the printing of this letter, and PLN's agreement with the letter writer, that resulted in Mrs. Roth's departure.
The difference here is a political one. PLN does not want to stoop to lobbying state legislators for relief, as we see them as a part of the problem rather than the solution. We prefer to focus our limited energies on the people who are directly impacted by these ongoing injustices. Thus, we were behind the reformist citizen's initiative because we would have been organizing otherwise powerless people to participate in the democratic process. We put our faith in the people, not in bourgeois politicians. The politicians are the very people who are responsible for most of this mess. We will miss the active and consistent support Mrs. Roth and the PCA have given to PLN. We are sorry she insists on looking toward the government for our salvation, rather than to the masses of poor and working people.
For any of our readers in the Seattle area, we still need volunteers who are able to help staple, fold and mail PLN on the last tuesday of each month, if you are interested in helping please contact either Ed or myself.
I was recently transferred back to the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, which is where my co editor Ed Mead has been. Now that we are in the same prison we expect PLN to improve in terms of content and style because it's far easier to discuss newsletter business in person than it is through the mail as we have been doing since we started. If you correspond with me please note my new address in the editor box on page 2.
If we exchange publications with you, please make sure they are sent directly to Ed or myself and not to our Florida publishing address, otherwise they have to be forwarded to us which causes delays and additonal postage costs.
On a closing note I will remind folks that we are always in need of more subscribers. If you can afford a donation please send it. If you know of anyone who might be interested in subscribing to PLN please tell them about us. We have PLN subscription forms available on request, if you need some just write and ask. I hope you enjoy this issue of PLN, pass it along to others when you are done with it.
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