By Paul Wright
Welcome to another issue of PLN. In the March, 1994, issue of PLN we started the News in Brief column which carries little tidbits we think readers might be interested in but which either don't merit an article of their own or that we don't have enough information to do an article on. When we started the column I asked for feedback on whether readers liked it or not. So far no one has commented on it one way or the other. I'd like some feedback on whether or not you would like us to continue the column or drop it.
Recently we have had requests from folks offering things for sale that wish to trade or rent PLN's mailing list. This has not come up before now. We haven't done anything about it because I wanted to make sure that we gave readers who don't want their names and addresses divulged a chance to let us know so that we can remove them from any lists that we decide to rent or trade. I have had doubts about the wisdom of renting/trading our mailing list. On the one hand, most people dislike junk mail. On the other hand, PLN is also seeking to trade mailing lists with other groups and publications so we can do sample mailings of PLN in an effort to let more people know about us. The reality is that this type of direct mailing is about the only way that small publications like ours can make themselves known for a relatively small amount of money. If for any reason you don't want your name and address divulged to any third parties by PLN let us know. Most of our BOP readers recently should have received a complimentary copy of Alan Parmalee's How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings. We provided him our BOP mailing list so he could send a free copy of his booklet to those who need it the most. Because of the important information he provides, and the fact that it was a freebie, we didn't think any of our BOP readers would mind. This is an example of who needs or wants to send stuff to PLN subscribers. Under no circumstances will we be divulging our mailing list to government, snout or reactionary agencies/ groups. So far everyone that has expressed an interest has been people already involved in prison support work.
In the last few months we have been getting complaints of non-delivery from prisoners at Waupun CI in Wisconsin and throughout the Texas DOC. In the past we have had problems with the Texas DOC and Waupun, we complained about it then and it went away for a while. We have written to the respective DOC administrators about this problem. What appears to be happening is that PLN simply "disappears" with no type of notice of censorship or an opportunity for any of the parties to appeal it. This is an unconstitutional practice. Any PLN reader affected by this practice should file the administrative complaints provided by the prison system they are in. This helps establish liability as well as attempting to resolve the problem quickly. If you decide to file suit, PLN will provide you with affidavits verifying that you are on our mailing list, the address PLN was sent to and that no notice was received by PLN stating an issue was censored for any reason. The legal presumption is that correctly addressed mail reaches its destination. Prison officials will have a harder time claiming PLN was lost "inadvertently" or by the post office when it can be shown to affect all PLN subscribers at a given prison (Waupun) or through the state (Texas). If you are having this type of problem please contact me if you haven't already.
We've already had one Waupun reader state that he was not renewing his subscription because of the harassment by prison officials in getting his copies. It should be apparent that there's a reason they don't want prisoners to read PLN, the fact that they won't openly censor it, i.e. specifying their reasons and providing an opportunity to appeal, etc., indicates they don't think they have much of a basis to censor PLN, at least not one that will hold up in court. I think it's kind of pathetic to give in to that type of behavior but that's just an opinion.
A new and rather unique business catering to prisoners has opened up, Gina's Floral Service allows prisoners to send floral bouquets, fruit baskets, colognes, etc., to friends and loved ones anywhere in the country with personalized messages. For full information on the wide range of services offered, costs, etc. write: Gina's Floral Service, 8951 Bonita Beach Rd. Suite 525-263, Bonita Springs, FL. 33923.
As always, we still need donations and new subscribers so if you haven't donated lately or your subscription is getting close to running out please donate what you can. By renewing your subscription a few months in advance you save us the time and expense of having to write and tell you it's time to renew. Your mailing label will let you know if you are close to your last issue. Let others know about PLN and encourage them to subscribe too. Enjoy this issue.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login