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From the Editor

Greetings and welcome to another issue of PLN . I'd like to bring to your attention a slight change in PLN 's mailing address. The U.S. Postal Services decided that mail addressed to "private mail boxes" (those handy mail centers that offer friendlier and cheaper p.o. box service) needs to be addressed with a "PMB" number (for "Private Mail Box"). This means that when you write to PLN , you MUST addressed the letter like this:
Prison Legal News
PMB 148
2400 NW 80th St.
Seattle, WA 98117

Effective November 1, 1999, the U.S. Postal Service will refuse to deliver mail to private mailing centers (their competitors in the p.o. box market) if the letters are not "properly" addressed with the PMB number. Please adjust your records.

Speaking of small-minded bureaucrats who refuse to deliver mail, the Washington DOC refused to deliver the May '99 issue to our (more than 100) WA prisoner subscribers. Various reasons were given for this blanket censorship. But the main reason is that WA DOC authorities don't want WA prisoners to read the pg 12-16 article, "White Guard, Black Guard" about allegations of racist guards in the WA DOC.

Those of you who read that article know that these were not scurrilous or unsubstantial allegations. The article was based on verified information from a report issued by the state police (who were called in by the DOC to investigate racism within its ranks), as well as court records stemming from several ongoing lawsuits brought by DOC employees against the state of Washington. The article was ably and professionally written by Jennifer Vogel (at the time a freelance journalist, now the editor of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly newspaper). Jennifer's article was first published in another Seattle newspaper, the Seattle Weekly, before reprinting in the May '99 PLN .

Needless to say, PLN stands by the story. We have obtained counsel and are challenging this censorship. Of course, we will keep you posted.

Lastly, I again apologize to those of you whose letters have gone unanswered. Paul and I have been unable to engage in "Inmate-to-Inmate" correspondence since the WA DOC instituted a new mail policy in January. This makes it difficult or impossible for Paul and I to respond to a large percentage of PLN 's reader mail. Our free-world staff, Fred, simply does not have the time to answer all of the mail. We work him like a mule, 24 x 7, and he can only accomplish so much. (Occasionally he sneaks away from his desk to indulge in frivolous activities like eating and sleeping).

So, until PLN can afford to hire and train another full-time staff (we're working on it), many of your letters will have to go unanswered. We're doing the best we can. And we hope to have the second staff position funded and filled by year's end.

As always, enjoy this issue, let your friends, family and colleagues know about PLN and encourage them to subscribe. PLN does not have an advertising budget. You, our readers, are our chief means of spreading the word and bringing in new subscribers. Can you find "just one more" subscriber for us this month? Thanks.

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