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From the Editor

The connection between felon disenfranchisement and mass imprisonment is rarely explored. In this month's cover story we discuss the correlation between the two. In many ways, the more things change the more they remain the same. Today's convicts effectively pad voter numbers when legislative districts are drawn which begs the question of just how representative is a representative democracy when millions are disenfranchised, millions more are moved around to artificially create conservative districts and give still more political power to rural, conservative and mostly white districts.

But this is nothing new and has been the case for most of American history. During the slavery era slaves were tallied up in creating legislative districts and apportioning votes in Congress even though obviously slaves couldn't vote. This effectively gave the slave owning Southern states a congressional veto and otherwise expanded their political power. In next month's issue of PLN we will examine how the census further exploits America's prison chattel and turns them into cash cows for government hand outs for those towns who opt to become prison centers.

We have been getting a very good response to our subscription madness campaign. If you would like to buy gift subscriptions for others they make a great holiday gift. Some readers have bought gift subscriptions for local and school libraries, local journalists and legislators as well as judges in districts which hear a lot of prison related cases. One way to change the status quo is to change public opinion. Right now the public knows little if anything about the actual workings of the prison industrial complex. PLN is one of the few publications dedicated to exposing the flesh and blood, concrete and steel realities of what it means to have two million people locked up. The problem we have is that with our shoestring budget we are only reaching a few thousand people at a time with each issue. By expanding PLN's circulation we can expand the impact we have as well as cut down PLN's per issue costs.

PLN is expanding the list of books that we distribute. You can see our current list on pages 33 and 34. Many topics are too complex to cover in magazine articles and literally require a full length book. If you have any suggestions on titles to review or for PLN to distribute please let us know. Many of our readers have requested that we expand our selection of law books but we have had difficulty finding distributors or publishers willing to sell such books at a discount. Many legal publishers have the view that since they are a monopoly, if anyone wants their products they will just have to buy them directly from the publisher. If we make any progress on this front we will announce it in PLN.

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