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From the Editor

In recent issues Dan and I have mentioned that we were seeking funding to pay a staff person until PLN was able to cover a staff salary on its own. So far we haven't had much luck at getting any grants in the amount needed. We are going to continue that effort. In the meantime, beginning September 1, 1996, we will be raising our subscription prices to $15 a year for prisoners; $20 a year for non-prisoners and $50 for institutions and professionals. The last time we raised our individual rates was in 1992. Since then we have doubled in size and gone to offset printing. Our goal has always been to remain accessible to poor people, especially prisoners. As long as we remained staffed by unpaid volunteers that wasn't much of a problem, but we have grown to the point where we need to increase PLN's revenue to cover a staff salary. Our goal has always been to remain self-sufficient so that we can maintain our editorial independence.

The rate increase will accompany other changes, the biggest one will be that we will change our address from Florida to Seattle. This will allow our staff person to handle the mail and other tasks associated with processing subscriptions for PLN. We will also require at least a $5 donation for those subscribers who need to pro-rate their subscriptions. The reason for this is that processing small donations of the $1 and $2 variety, especially in stamps, is simply too time consuming, it takes just as much time to process a 32 cent donation as it does to process a $100 donation. Over the years most problems we have had with subscribers has been with those who donate small amounts (typically in the $1 to $3 range). It simply isn't worth the time, energy, effort and hassle to process such small donations and then put up with complaints about it. A typical example was Darryl Bell, a Texas prisoner who donated one 32 cent stamp. He was duly added to our mailing list for a 5 issue trial subscription and when he didn't get his first issue fast enough he promptly filed a complaint against PLN with the Florida Better Business Bureau. We now pro rate subscriptions at $1 per issue to avoid hassles like that.

Another change we are going to make is increasing the cost for back issues to $5 per issue. The reason for that is we are just about out of back issues and will have to make photocopies. The upside is we will be able to provide single copies of all issues on request. All this will begin September 1, 1996.

Raising both our rates and the amount required to pro-rate subscriptions isn't something that we decided to do easily. We put it off as long as we could, despite rising printing and postage costs, expanding our size and maintaining our monthly publication schedule. Basically it comes down to the hard fact that PLN needs to remain reader supported to survive. Our cause is not a popular one.

We will honor all $12 individual subscriptions we receive before September 1, 1996. If you're a subscriber who is getting a pro-rated subscription please try not to send less than $5 at a time, doing so will save the precious time of our outside volunteers who are already overworked. We will continue to accept postage stamps as payment provided it is at least $5 per donation.

We would like to encourage our readers to help us expand our circulation, this includes copying and distributing our flyers and letting others know about us. We will send you a bundle of 23 PLNs to distribute if you can send us a mailing label and 10 stamps to cover postage. We can also arrange to send bulk issues of PLN to distribute at events, meetings, etc. If anyone has any ideas on how we can expand our circulation please drop us a line.

In the April issue Dan mentioned that we were encouraging folks to buy a gift subscription for people in the media to get PLN and see the other side of prison litigation and struggle. So far about eight subscriptions have been purchased. We would like to encourage more, just send us the name and address of the person you want to get the subscription ($12 for a year; $6 for six issues) and we will add them to our mailing list. By focusing on the corporate media, especially at the local and national level, we can expand the impact we have. Some readers have purchased subscriptions for legislators, judges and others who they think might find PLN informative. We think that is a terrific idea, so you might want to consider doing that also.

As readers have noticed we also print ads. To receive our ad rates please send an SASE. Likewise, whenever readers want confirmation that we received a donation or have other questions you need to send an SASE. A typical situation is someone who donates five stamps and then asks for confirmation that we got it! If it's that important that you receive immediate confirmation then you need to send an SASE. Enjoy this issue of PLN and share it with others!

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