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From the Editor

by Paul Wright

The August issue of PLN had the last column Laura Whitehorn wrote for us before getting out of prison on August 5, 1999. Laura believed it was important that her column be written by current prisoners, as opposed to a former prisoner.

With this issue of PLN   I welcome our new columnists, Linda Evans and Marilyn Buck. They are Laura's comrades and co-defendants as well as long time PLN supporters. Their column arrived too late to make it into the November issue when it should have run, so we are running it now. Linda and Marilyn are   political activists and have spent the last 15 years or so as political prisoners in the Bureau of Prisons.

All too often women prisoners are an invisible minority in a prison system largely set up to cage men. We hope that by having women prisoners as regular columnists we can raise greater awareness of the unique issues facing women prisoners and their struggles. Another reason we are pleased that first Laura and now Linda and Marilyn have accepted our offer to be columnists, is because the United States government routinely denies holding any political prisoners in its prisons. In reality, the United States holds at least 100 leftist and several dozen right wing political prisoners.

PLN recently moved to a slightly larger office space in Seattle. Moving and getting everything set up again, while still trying to maintain daily operations of picking up the mail, processing it, answering the phone, etc. took longer than expected. By now everyone should have received their PLN fundraiser appeal. It is essential that PLN raise an additional $24,000 over the next year so we can afford to hire a second staff person. Please donate whatever you can afford, no amount is too small. Stamps and embossed envelopes are perfectly acceptable too.

Even if you can't afford an extra donation please consider using this time to buy books from PLN, either for yourself or as gifts. Extending your subscription now will save PLN valuable staff time and money by not requiring us to send you a renewal notice.

Each fundraiser appeal also has a PLN subscription flyer in it. Please make copies of the flyer and distribute or post it so more people will learn about PLN. Encourage others to subscribe. If you let others read your copy of PLN, try to get them to subscribe as well. Increasing PLN's circulation is essential to PLN's long term survival. If each subscriber could get just one more person to subscribe it would almost double our circulation and easily allow us to hire the second staff person we so desperately need. If you believe in an independent prison press this is your chance to support it.

This issue of PLN has my review of Christian Parenti's book Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. Christian is a PLN contributor and supporter and an excellent book author as well. This is the longest book review PLN has ever published. This is a great book, one that clearly and succinctly makes many of the same points PLN has tried to make about the criminal justice system over the past ten years. For those who are too busy to read an entire book, I hope my review conveys the essence of the author's analysis. Lockdown America was just published. If you are looking for a great holiday gift for anyone involved, or interested, in the criminal justice system, this is it. This is the last issue of PLN for 1999. Everyone at PLN would like to give our readers our best wishes for a more militant new year of greater struggle. Remember that next month's issue of PLN will have our annual index for 1999 in it.

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