We apologize for the delay in getting the October issue out. We had a computer problem that held things up.
In the past our "News in Brief" column (which I put together) and the "A Matter of Fact" column (which Dan puts together) have often contained items not directly related to prisons, such as police corruption, national economic statistics, etc. In an effort to make more room for other stories we are going to try to shorten those columns by sticking to a narrower, prison focus. This presented something of a dilemma in that we believe prison issues cannot be separated from the larger economic and political picture. Police corruption illustrates why many are in prison as does widening economic status. That is why we frequently mention other publications that, while not directly prison related, may be of interest to our readers. We are also going to try to run more articles dealing with the political economy of prisons.
Almost every month PLN gets at least one letter from a reader somewhere stating that prisoncrats have censored a given issue of PLN. Most of the time PLN receives a copy of the censorship notice from the prison mailroom in question, which is what is supposed to happen since supreme court rulings have held that both the sender and intended recipient of publications are entitled to appeal censorship decisions by prison employees. However, many times PLN does not receive copies of the censorship notice from the prisoncrats, especially in Washington, North Carolina and Florida. PLN has, since its inception, always challenged all attempts at censorship. We are usually successful at resolving the problem through administrative appeals. If that does not succeed we encourage our readers to file suit and we will do our best to find counsel to assist in the litigation. The main thing is that we know the censorship is occurring. Even if the reader in question doesn't plan to do anything about it PLN will still appeal (we have encountered the situation in some states, especially in Florida, where PLN is censored yet the subscribers involved fear appealing the matter themselves. In one case even after PLN successfully appealed the matter the prisoner in question said he didn't want to get PLN despite the Florida DOC headquarters stating it was a permitted publication). If your PLN subscription is being censored for any reason please let us know about it and be sure to send copies of all documentation involving the censorship so we can attempt to resolve the matter.
In the past Texas readers have inquired whether they can send PLN sealed "media mail." PLN is duly listed in the Gale Directory of Broadcast Publications, on page 445. This meets the TDCJ requirement that publications be listed in Gale's in order to receive media mail.
In July the PBS program Freedom Speaks came to Washington to interview me for a show they were putting together on prisoner rights. The show began to air nationally in October of this year. PLN was featured as the lead in for the show which kind of set the tone for the free speech behind bars segment. The weekly show focuses on first amendment issues in different contexts. The episode I was interviewed on was very good, discussing prison publications, bans on media access to prisoners, the RFRA and more. It has a panel discussion on the issues. One panelist was Peter Sussman, the co-author, with former federal prisoner Danny Martin, of Committing Journalism. While the program airs nationally it does not appear on all PBS stations (it doesn't air in Western Washington). Anyone desiring more information about the program should contact: Freedom Speaks, 1207 18th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212. (615) 321-9588. Or e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For sometime now Dan and I have wanted to increase PLN's size to 28 pages. We haven't been able to do so because PLN can't afford it, we are struggling just to meet daily operating costs. Right now we are working on selling ads to subsidize this expansion as well as our daily operating costs. To print a 28 page issue we need at least 2 pages of paid ads. Whenever we have that many ads we will run a 28 page issue, when we don't we will run a 24 page issue. If you know of anyone who might be interested in advertising in PLN please let them know about us or send us their address and we will contact them. PLN's complete ad rates are available on request with an SASE. Our rates are very affordable, only $300 for a full page ad, with discounts for multiple ads. Smaller size ads are, of course, cheaper. Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe.
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