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From the Editor

Thanks to the response our fundraiser has achieved, PLN was recently able to hire a second staff person, Linda, to help with our essential office tasks. Right now the main thing she has been doing is helping Fred, our office manager, get caught up on the many essential tasks that have fallen behind due to the immediate concern of getting PLN published each month. However, as things stand now, we will still need to raise additional funds to ensure we can employ Linda on a continuing basis.

A PLN supporter who wishes to remain anonymous has offered PLN a $15,000 matching grant. Under the terms of the grant, any prisoners who make a donation will receive a two to one matching donation. Thus, if a prisoner donates $20, PLN will receive a matching grant of $40 from the donor. Individual donations from non prisoners will be matched one to one up to $500. For every dollar a non prisoner donates, PLN will receive a matching dollar. The matching grant offer runs from March 1, 2000 through January 15, 2001, or until we reach the $15,000 limit. The matching grant does not cover the cost of subscriptions, book purchases, in kind gifts or foundation grants. It does cover all donations above and beyond the cost of a subscription. For example, if a prisoner sends PLN $20 and states that $15 of it is to renew his PLN subscription and the remaining $5 is a donation, PLN will receive a matching grant of $10.

We encourage all of our readers to send a donation to enable PLN to qualify for the full amount of the matching grant. Stamps and embossed envelopes can be donated and no amount is too small. Quite literally, every little bit helps. Unlike the bigger non profits where most of the money obtained via fundraising is sucked up by administrative costs, consultants and expenses, PLN is different. Every penny you donate to help PLN goes into just that. We have no bloated bureaucracy, no expensive consultants and no professional fundraisers taking a percentage of donations. Your donations go directly into funding PLN's work. Don't think for a minute that your contribution is too small or too insignificant to make a difference. It all helps. Between now and January we will report the progress of our matching grant program.

PLN frequently receives queries about submitting articles. To get a copy of PLN's writer guidelines send an SASE. Right now we are looking for people interested in becoming PLN contributing writers for law and/or news articles. Anyone interested in writing law articles should have access to a law library or current court rulings and a good knowledge of prison and jail civil rights litigation. PLN can't afford to pay its writers but we hope to do so eventually. If you are interested in becoming a PLN contributing writer contact me directly or via PLN's Seattle office, include any writing clips, experience or qualifications with your letter.

So far 147 PLN readers have responded to PLN's survey. Most of the respondents are prisoners. The vast majority like PLN's content the way it is. Three or four readers said our articles are too simplistic and too short, another three or four said the articles are too long and too complex. John Midgley's "Pro Se Tips and Tactics" column is a huge favorite. A lot of readers said they want to see more "how to" and habeas corpus information. One attorney commented that PLN has great legal writing, but cheap paper. A frequent comment was a desire for more ads offering services and products aimed at prisoners. A number of readers said they would like to see bigger issues of PLN.

One way for PLN to expand its size, and print on higher quality paper (a long standing goal of mine) is if we can increase our number of advertisers. If you buy goods or services from someone and you are pleased with the results and think they would benefit from exposure to a national prison audience, suggest that they contact PLN for advertising information. Or better yet, send PLN their contact information and we will send them an advertising packet. Most of PLN's current advertiser's learned about PLN after their customers told them about us. PLN's ad rates are inexpensive and very affordable. Expanding our advertiser base will allow us to increase our page size as well as inform our readers of services and products they can use.

We also received suggestions that PLN distribute more self help legal books. It is a great idea and one we have tried to implement. The problem we have encountered is that most legal publishers won't advertise their products in PLN and they also won't sell their books to PLN at a discount for us to distribute. They are pretty oblivious to the legal needs of prisoners. We are continuing to work on this, and with more staff time available perhaps we can make some headway. As things stand now, the books we are advertising or distributing are the only ones we have been able to make any progress with the publisher.

Thank you for supporting PLN. Please let others know about PLN and encourage them to subscribe.

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