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From the Editor

PLN frequently reports on litigation and news arising from jails. This month's cover story, America's Jails: The Dungeons of the New Millenium , takes a broad look at the problems afflicting American jails: brutality, overcrowding, medical neglect, corruption, sexual assaults, etc. In many respects jails are like prisons, but there are important distinctions. Virtually every county in America has a jail--a jail that local media dutifully ignore for the most part until prisoners start being hauled out in body bags.

With a half million prisoners in jail at any given time, and millions of people cycling through them each year, jails are huge players in the criminal justice system. Mostly funded at the local level, jails typically consume huge portions of local budgets with little critical examination by anybody. The cover story may seem geographically diverse and the problems dissimilar but we hope to make the point that the problems in American jails, which have been well documented for decades by assorted authors, investigative commissions, and extensive litigation, have, if anything, become worse.

We have made some important changes at PLN 's office in recent months. First, we have upgraded our office technology with new computers and software to allow better data processing. Second, we have finally switched over to a new, custom designed mailing list program which has been sorely needed for many years. The new mailing list program will allow us to provide better and more efficient subscription services. If you have had any subscription related problems in the past eight months, but have not written to PLN about it, this is the time to do so. In combination, these steps will greatly improve our ability to serve our readers.

PLN 's matching grant campaign is still underway. As of September 1, 2001, PLN has received a total of $2,963. We have until March 31, 2002, to obtain the full amount of the grant. If you have not yet donated to our matching grant campaign, please do so.

As the holiday season approaches, readers should consider purchasing gift subscriptions to PLN , or books from PLN , as ideal holiday gifts for friends and loved ones. For prisoners, we are also offering free books for those who start or extend a subscription for four years for $72. (See page 15 for details.)

Enjoy this issue of PLN and encourage others to subscribe.

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