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From the Editor

This month we continue our coverage of the hepatitis C (HCV) epidemic sweeping through American prisons with little or no treatment for the afflicted. The public health consequences of this and many other diseases that have historically festered in American prisons and jails before entering the community with both released prisoners and the staff who work in detention facilities is largely ignored. Which is odd, since the problem has been around for well over a hundred years. In some cases the diseases, such as HCV, are new, in others, like tuberculosis, they are old. Litigation by prisoners seeking treatment for HCV infection promises to be for this decade what HIV and AIDS litigation was for the 1980's. Upcoming issues of PLN will report more developments on this issue.

By now readers should have received PLN's summer fund-raiser mailing. If you can afford to make a donation to help support PLN's work please do so. PLN counts on you, its individual readers to continue publishing. Subscription, advertising and book sale income do not cover all of PLN's operating costs. All donations to PLN are tax deductible and are used to further PLN's work. We recently expanded to forty monthly pages to bring you still more news and information. If you like PLN's expanded format, please help us cover the additional costs of printing and mailing. We also continue to expand the selection of books that we offer on self help topics for prisoners and analysis and critique of the criminal justice system. With a constantly updated selection, readers should review our book selection list on a regular basis.

PLN continues to have censorship problems in various states. If for whatever reason you are not receiving PLN or any books you have ordered from PLN, please let us know and also file grievances or other means of documenting the censorship with the responsible officials. Send PLN copies of the documentation. The typical hallmark of the censorship of PLN is a lack of notice from prison officials to PLN that it is occurring. Once we can document that PLN is being censored we can then attempt to resolve the matter administratively or initiate litigation if that is unsuccessful.

PLN was recently subjected to a blanket ban by the Florida Department of Corrections who appear to view our discount phone service ads as a threat to their prison phone racket. PLN has appealed the censorship and also sent a demand letter to the Florida DOC director. At no point has PLN received notice of the censorship from prison officials. It is things like this that require ongoing PLN staff time and resources while we handle censorship complaints, determine the facts of what is going on, send out the necessary demand letters and then if that is unsuccessful begin the process of preparing litigation. PLN's censorship suits have succeeded in revamping mail censorship practices in six states so far. All of this relies on the ongoing support of our readers as well as PLN's attorneys. Upcoming issues will carry reports on developments in these matters as well.

On June 17, 2003, a federal court in Seattle issued a permanent injunation to be effective August 16, 2003, enjoining the censorship of bulk mail and catalogs sent to Washington prisoners. PLN is the plaintiff in that case as well. Next month's PLN will include more details on the injunction.

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