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From the Editor

PLN's new book, Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America's Poor is now available for distribution from PLN as well as other bookstores and outlets. Edited by myself and Seattle attorney Tara Herivel, Prison Nation is the first book to systematically examine the connection between mass imprisonment and indigent criminal defense. Basically, it answers how 2 million Americans wound up in prison. We also examine how federal laws have been dramatically restricted as a means to challenge both wrongful convictions and inhumane conditions of confinement. Some of the articles have previously appeared in PLN, many have not. It offers a comprehensive look at the biases of the court system and the conditions of confinement for American prisoners.

Tara and I, along with Eric Nelson, our editor at Routledge, put a lot of effort into Prison Nation and we're very pleased with the result. We believe it will be a significant part of PLN's public education work in both letting the general public know about the actual operation of the criminal justice system and also educating prisoners about their reality. Prison Nation makes a great gift too. For prisoners who cannot afford to buy a copy, please encourage your prison library to purchase a copy or two.

In addition to the book, the 2002 PLN index is complete and ready for shipping. The index lists all articles PLN published in 2002 with detailed case and article summaries. All PLN indexes are an excellent standalone research tool, providing a quick and easy way to locate winning cases and their outcomes. Ordering information for the index and Prison Nation are available on pages 33 and 34 of this issue.

If you have not yet donated to PLN's fundraiser it is not too late to do so. Every little bit helps and goes towards advancing PLN's work. This includes books such as Prison Nation, PLN the magazine, our book distribution to educate citizens about the criminal justice system, censorship litigation to ensure prisoners can actually receive PLN and the books we distribute, litigation to obtain government records on prison issues and the ground breaking, in depth news and analysis PLN is renowned for. If you think these are goals worth supporting, please show your support by making a donation. Your support is needed now more than ever.

The saddest duty that I have as PLN's editor has been noting the passing of PLN's friends and supporters. In December, 2002, Sam Boltansky, the owner of Komar Publishing, a long time PLN advertiser succumbed to cancer. In addition to advertising Sam regularly made donations to PLN to support our efforts on behalf of prisoner rights. I corresponded with Sam over the years on First Amendment and free speech issues. He had a keen mind and a fine sense of humor and a dedication to fighting government censorship. Everyone at PLN offers their condolences to Sam's family and friends. For our part, we have lost a good friend and supporter.

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