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From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to another issue of PLN . Several readers have pointed out that PLN editorials are needlessly long. Naturally, my feelings were bruised. The truth hurts. From now on, though, the limit on PLN editorials is 500 words (a half-page) rather than 1,000.

So maybe I should get right to the important stuff. First of all, I'd like to thank PLN s DTP/Layout person, Matt Esget, who has accomplished miracles. Matt has done what no others before him could do he makes the PLN run on time. Secondly, I'd like to thank all of you for generously responding to PLN 's third annual fund-raiser. As of Jan. 7, 1998 you have sent $1,328 in donations which is short of the $6,000 PLN needs to offset publishing expenses this year.

Where does it all go? Things are gettin' expensive "out there" folks. Even the little things add up quickly. PLN 's monthly phone bill nears $200. The amount we spend on postage stamps just on PLN related mail tops $150 a month.

Which reminds me. One PLN reader in California's Pelican Bay state prison (undoubtedly a hellish place to do time) writes to complain that "you people claim to aid and represent prisoners. [But] every time I write your office for legal advice, all I receive from your office is bullshit that you don't do this or you don't do that..." Obviously he's blowing off some steam. He goes on to say he doesn't have enough money for a high-priced lawyer, but he's willing to pay for some advice.

The problem is, PLN staffers (none of whom are attorneys) put in 50-70 hour weeks pulling the PLN plow and doing the thousand little things it takes to keep this thing rolling. I personally answer about 125 letters a month. Paul probably writes about 160 letters a month. On top of that, Paul and I have to write each other every day because we're in different prisons. And Fred, who mans the PLN fort in Seattle, responds to a hundred or so letters monthly, in addition to mailing out a good 150 renewal postcards and 100 renewal letters monthly.

So if you write PLN and expect anybody around here to do your legal research or offer you individualized legal advice... It's not that we don't care. It's just a matter of time.

Speaking of time, the WA parole board (ISRB) just flopped me fourteen years to my max in 2011. After putting in 16 years and thinking I was on the home stretch, 14 more was quite a jolt. And when friends and family (not all of whom read PLN ) say, "Gee... isn't that a little harsh ?" I tell 'em that the same thing is happening all over. The anti-criminal fascist zeitgeist in the U.S. is running so strong that parole boards feel justified in slamming virtually all prisoners with lengthy flops. Few escape.

Thinking about it that way things are tough all over helps me avoid taking the parole board decision personally. But sometimes I wonder I mean, I'm gonna have to personally do the 14 years.

And that's why I saved that bit of news for last. If I had a 1,000 word limit, I'd bend your ear for another half-page. As it is, let's wrap this thing up and call it another month. As always, keep those renewals coming, and encourage new people to subscribe. We publish only because PLN readers pay the bills. As long as the subscription income flows, the presses will roll.

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