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From the Editor

Observant readers will have noticed that PLN's masthead has changed its message from "Working to Extend Democracy to All" to "Dedicated to Protecting Human Rights." As PLN enters its fourteenth year of publishing and advocacy on behalf of prisoners, we think this change more accurately reflects the actual work PLN is doing. While democracy is an admirable goal, we may have been setting our sights too high.

By focusing on human rights, a much more basic and fundamental issue, we hope to highlight the fact that for far too many of the more than two million people imprisoned in American jails and prisons, the carcereal experience means brutality, beatings, rape, extra-judicial murder, censorship, religious suppression or religious imposition, degrading and inhumane conditions, untreated or poorly treated medical needs, political disenfranchisement, slave labor, racial and gender discrimination and financial exploitation. It's hard to aspire to democratic rights when such basic and fundamental rights and needs are routinely violated and the daily existence in prison and jail consists of a struggle to survive. It is also difficult if not impossible to try to overcome drug and alcohol addictions, mental illness, illiteracy or otherwise try to rehabilitate oneself in such an environment.

We also hope to illustrate the fact that Americans too have human rights and that such rights are not the exclusive prerogative of people in far away lands.

Subscribers should have recently received a fundraising appeal for PLN. If you believe PLN's work is worth supporting, we hope you will take the time to send a donation. You can also purchase gift subscriptions and encourage others to subscribe. PLN has expanded its size by an additional four pages to bring readers still more news and information. We need your support to continue publishing each issue of PLN.

PLN recently added the Spanish language version of The Celling of America, El Encarcelamiento de America, to our book selection on page 37. For several years readers have suggested that PLN add Spanish language materials to its selection. If this title is successful we will try to expand our Spanish language selection. As far as we know, this is the only book in Spanish about the American prison system.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and encourage others to subscribe. With summer upon us, if you or your group would like bulk copies of PLN to distribute at events, rallies or meetings, contact PLN's Seattle office to make arrangements to receive bulk copies of PLN to distribute.

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