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From the Editor

We want to thank the Southern Poverty Law Center for awarding a $5,000 grant to PLN. We still need $30,000 over the next two years to fund what amounts to a full-time staff position. The $5,000 grant from SPLC will give us breathing room and allow us to develop additional fundraising strategies. If all goes as planned, we will return to financial self-sufficiency within two years. You can help us to increase circulation by passing out samples of PLN. Send a self-addressed return mailing label and ten stamps to cover postage, and we'll mail you a bundle of PLN's to distribute to potential subscribers.

One of the things that will help our long-term growth is to increase the mass media's awareness of PLN. I am asking you, our readers, to help our efforts to increase media interest in PLN. I ask that you "sponsor" a PLN subscription for a member of your local media (TV, radio or newspaper reporters). Please send us the name and address of the media contact you wish to sponsor, along with $6 (or one book of stamps) for a 6-month subscription, or $12 (or two books of stamps) for a 1-year subscription. We won't let them know who paid for their subscription; they will simply start receiving "complimentary" issues of PLN. Hopefully many of these new contacts will renew when their subscriptions run out. By then they will have had the opportunity to see what a vital alternative source of prison news we are.

This media outreach campaign will also allow the PLN's unique perspective on news and issues to have more of an impact on mainstream" journalism. As it is, many reporters don't have to go far to find sources of information; much of what they get are "hand-outs" from corporate PR hacks and government spin doctors. What we'd like to do is provide these reporters with the same kind of convenient access to a new source of information: PLN. Please help us by sponsoring a media contact in your area.

We recently sent a direct mail fundraiser letter to many of our longtime supporters. The response was much better than we estimated, bringing in over $1,500. Along with the SPLC grant this will help us meet our expenses while we continue to seek additional funding. I thank those of you who responded with a donation. I wish you could read the many letters of gratitude we get from prisoners in super-max dungeons, on death row, in long-term segregation, and in prisons (especially in the South) where law library access is almost non-existent. I pass their thanks on to those of you who donated generously in response to our fundraiser letter.

If you didn't get one of the fundraiser letters, or if you have otherwise not donated to PLN lately, I urge you to do so now. If you are a prisoner in the general population, you are expected to pull your own weight. There is nothing in the world I hate more than writing a letter to some prisoner who doesn't have the resources to pay for a subscription and telling them, "Sorry to say, we can't afford to carry you for free anymore - we're gonna have to cut you loose." I've had to write too many of those letters in the past few months. I hope you can help ensure that I write fewer such letters in the coming months.

I got a letter from the publisher of Dollars & Sense (D&S) magazine the other day. He tells me that they have decided to liberalize their subscription policy in regards to prisoners. They publish six times a year, and the regular subscription rate is $18.95/yr. I encourage you to pay the full subscription rate if you can afford it. They are now offering free subscriptions, however, to prisoners who can't scrape up the nineteen bucks.

D&S is one of my all-time favorite magazines. They cover economic issues from a left/progressive point of view. Why is that important? Well, a lot of people have asked me over the years how I would "reform" the prison system. I give them all the same answer: "There can never be true criminal justice unless there is first social justice. There can be no social justice without economic justice." So, if you want to study justice then you need to learn a thing or two about economics. D&S is the political tool you need to understand economics. If this interests you, send for a subscription to: Dollars & Sense, One Summer Street, Somerville, MA 02143. Tell them that PLN sent you.

That's all until next time. Thanks to all of you for the letters, clippings, donations and continued support of the PLN collective. We couldn't do it without you! Enjoy this issue and pass it along to a friend when you're done.

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