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From the Editor

Last month Paul announced our (much regretted) impending rate increase. A year ago we raised our Institutional rate from $35 to $50/yr, but our individual rate remained at $12/yr. This year, as of September 1, we are raising the individual rate. We are also splitting the individual rate into two separate categories. As such, we will have several categories of subscribers:

Prisoner - subscriptions are $15/yr. As in the past, we will accept postage stamps as payment. From now on, however, we require a donation of no less than $5 at a time. Your subscription will be pro-rated, depending on your circumstances, ability to pay, and our financial status. For a $5 donation you will receive at the very least four issues of PLN. To make things easier on everyone, though, we ask that prisoners try to send the full $15 in one payment for a 1-year subscription.

Individual - The subscription rate for non-incarcerated persons is $20/yr. If you can possibly donate more, please do so. Extra donations from those who can afford to give more allow us to subsidize subscriptions for indigent prisoners in control units or on death row.

Institutional/Professional - This rate remains at $50/yr and applies to law libraries, wardens, DOC officials, organizations, libraries, attorneys, professors, and other professionals.

Media Sponsor - We still invite subscribers to "sponsor" a trial subscription for a media contact, judge, legislator, or any other person(s) in the media or criminal justice field whom you would like to expose to PLN. For the time being, this rate will remain the same as the prisoner rate. Send us the name and mailing address of the contact person whose subscription you would like to sponsor, along with $15 (for 12 issues) or $7.50 (for 6 issues) and we'll mail that person a "free trial" subscription. PLN will not let this person know who "sponsored" their subscription. If you want them to know that you are the one who paid for it, feel free to write them yourself and let them know.

Bundles of PLN - Send three dollars and a return mailing label and we'll send you a bundle of (appox.) 23 PLN's for you to pass out as samples. We encourage PLN readers to distribute samples of PLN at meetings, rallies, conferences, or conventions.

In the April "Notes From the Editor" I asked readers to sponsor subscriptions for media contacts. So far the response has been pretty good. We have signed up about a dozen newspapers to free trial subscriptions paid for by PLN subscribers. Other PLN readers have sponsored subscriptions for legislators, judges, and local politicians. That's a terrific idea! Is there a local politician in your area about whom you have thought, "Gee, what an idiot! Where do they get their information about prisons?! I wish this numbskull would read PLN." Well ... what are you waiting for? Send us their name and mailing address along with $7.50 or $15 and your wish will come true.

Before closing, I'd like to say a few words about one of my duties at PLN which I find particularly distressing. I often get letters from prisoners that begin with something like, "Please! You gotta help me!" A few of these letters are from whiners who complain about trivial issues ("Our inmate group had a banquet and the pigs wouldn't let our people bring in fried chicken.") For those, all I can say is, "Dial 1-800-Whaaaaa."

Most of the 'Help Me" letters, however, are about truly gut wrenching experiences of brutality, mistreatment, or medical horror stories. What makes it distressing for me is that (Paul or) I don't have time to respond to most of these letters. Paul and I are so consumed with the amount of work required to get the PLN out the door each month, we simply don't have the time to become personally involved in each person's struggle. If the person is a (paying) PLN subscriber, or encloses an S.A.S.E., I at least try to respond - even if I can offer nothing beyond words of support and encouragement. If the person isn't a PLN subscriber and doesn't enclose an S.A.S.E., the letter often goes in the trash. I hate doing that, but it's really the only thing I can do. I only have 24/7 to accomplish all of the work required to put out a month's PLN. And as each month clicks by, there seems to be less and less time left over for doing other things.

That's all for this month. Enjoy this issue. Pass it along to a friend when you're done -- and encourage them to subscribe!

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