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From the Editor

SouthLand Prison News was a bi-monthly magazine published by Virginia prisoner Joseph Houck. In August, 2003, they published their last issue after almost five years of publishing. I am saddened at their passing as it illustrates the ongoing problems of the prison press in the United States. PLN will be taking over SPN's remaining subscription obligations as soon as we receive their mailing list. SPN focused primarily on news from the Eastern and Southern states. PLN will retain its national focus and continue covering news and legal developments from all fifty states.

We recently expanded to 40 pages to bring our readers still more news and information. Even with the expansion there is still plenty going on. More than we have room to print. Our goals for the next year are to increase the number of advertisers in PLN in order to expand our size further and to better determine the types and kind of news that you, our readers, find useful.

A reader survey form is enclosed with this issue. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think of PLN's content and the issues and news that we cover. If you like PLN the way it is, let us know. If there is an issue or topic you think merits more coverage, let us know. Likewise, issues that merit less coverage. In January or February we will tabulate all the results and report what our readers have to say. Please try to return all survey responses by the end of the year. Knowing what news readers want and can use allows us to better use our limited print space.

This issue also contains PLN's Fall fund-raiser. If you believe in an independent, penal press that stands up for the rights of prisoners and publishers wanting to communicate with prisoners, this is your chance to do so. Like The Nation says, subscribing to our principles isn't enough. PLN is almost solely supported by its readers and advertisers. All donations received go into producing the magazine and ensuring readers receive it. The latter frequently includes state wide censorship suits to ensure prisoners can receive PLN. Don't think that small donations are unwelcome. Quite literally, every donation, no matter how small, helps. If all you can afford is a stamp or two, send it. If every reader who receives the reader survey sent us two stamps it would pay for the cost of the printing. We are sending the survey and fundraiser with this issue of PLN to cut unneccessary expenses

PLN continues expanding the number of books that it distributes. With the holidays approaching, a gift subscription to PLN or a PLN book make fantastic gifts for both the person who has everything and the prisoner who can otherwise receive nothing. PLN's Subscription Madness campaign is in full swing this year. Consider sponsoring a PLN gift subscription at our incredibly low rates now. Don't know anyone to give a gift subscription to? Consider opinion makers (journalists, legislators, etc.) in your community; local school or public libraries; and friends and family. Or you can specify if you would like gift subscriptions to go to women prisoners, prisoners on death row, or control units, or others. PLN also frequently receives requests for subscriptions from prisoners unable to afford them if you don't have anyone to send a gift subscription to.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and encourage others to subscribe.

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