As the article in this issue mentions, PLN contributing writer Mark Cook was recently released from prison after 24 years. We wish Mark the best.
Former contributing writer O'Neil Stough was recently released from prison and, unfortunately, did not do very well as he committed suicide earlier this year. We offer our condolences to O'Neil's family and friends.
We greatly appreciate the contributions made by all of PLN's contributing writers over the years. A number of people responded to my recent editorial asking for contributing writers. I'd like to thank those who responded. I believe I have replied to all who wrote. If not, write again because I was recently moved to a different prison on rather short notice and some papers did get misplaced in the shuffle.
However, we didn't get any responses or inquiries from women prisoners. We would very much like to have more contributions by women prisoners, especially on news issues that involve or affect women. If you are a woman prisoner with good writing skills and interested in writing news stories for PLN then please contact us.
We always welcome article submissions from all of our readers. If you have a prison or jail news story that PLN readers might be interested in, please send it along. For a copy of PLN's writer's guidelines send an SASE.
One PLN project that I strongly feel is much needed, yet moving very slowly due to a lack of funding, is PLN's website on the Internet. As the world moves into the digital information age, prisoners are largely being left behind. PLN would like to set up a prison litigation research site on the Internet that includes all back issues of PLN, direct links to the cases we have reported, a brief bank of motions and pleadings from winning cases, all pre-1990 (i.e. pre-PLN) prison and jail cases that are still good law, links to other prison, law and criminal justice related websites and much more.
This would allow PLN to reach many more people around the world than we are currently able to reach with our print version. It would also make PLN much more useful as a research tool and information source. While prisoners would not have direct access to it, they could access it by proxy and have friends or relatives download the information, print and mail it to them.
As with most of PLN's problems, this is one that can be resolved with money. Right now we have a group of volunteers working on some aspects of the website (downloading cases, converting files electronically, indexing files and cases, scanning case plugs, etc.) but there is only so much people working in their spare time can do when a big project is involved. Moreover, the people with the necessary technical skills tend not to have the spare time and the people with the time usually don't have the technical skills.
For the past two and half years or so, PLN has, without success, sought the $40-50,000 in seed money that it will take to get the website fully operational. Foundation funders have not been receptive to the project. If you or anyone you know is able and interested in supporting this project please contact me at the address on page two for more details and information. Within six months or less of getting funding we can have the website up and running.
While reading a listing of law related websites in the National Law Journal it was disheartening to see that none were listed which are dedicated to prison and jail law, while every other area of law, no matter how obscure, is well represented. Hopefully we can change that.
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