Starting October 1, 2003, we are also starting our Subscription Madness campaign, which was very successful last year. One of the best ways to get new readers and let people know about PLN is to mail out sample copies to potential subscribers. However, sample mailings are expensive and time consuming to prepare and even the most successful sample mailings usually only have a response rate of one or two percent. By allowing readers to buy gift subscriptions at an introductory low rate we allow for the expansion of our subscriber base and pass the savings on to the buyer of the gift subscription.
Potential people to give gift subscriptions to include journalists, legislators and judges as well as public, prison and school libraries where PLN can reach a wider number of people than we otherwise would. Don't know anyone to give a gift subscription to? Fill out the form and send it in to PLN's office with a note that you would like PLN to provide the recipients of the subscriptions. Every day PLN receives requests from indigent prisoners, many in control units and on death row, who are unable to afford a subscription. PLN lacks the resources to give gift subscriptions to the many prisoners who write to request them.
The number of women prisoners in the US has rapidly increased in the past 20 years, mainly due to determinate sentencing. While PLN has prisoner subscribers in all 50 states, that is not the case for all women's prisons in the country, where PLN has readers in around half. We would like to increase the number of women prisoners who subscribe to PLN. Part of the problem is letting them know PLN exists and the fact that most women in prison tend to be serving relatively short prison sentences. One project PLN has been unsuccessful in seeking funding for was to provide a one or two year subscription to the law libraries of all women's prisons in the US to help raise their awareness of their rights. If this is of interest to anyone, let PLN know and we can discuss the details.
We hope that recipients of gift subscriptions will subscribe for themselves once their subscription runs out. Which will help build PLN's long term subscriber base.
As always, it is reader donations and support which keep the presses going at PLN and allows us to publish each month. Subscription and advertising income cover only a portion of PLN's operating expenses. We rely on donations from readers to make up the difference.
As this issue of PLN goes to press, PLN is preparing to file suit against the federal Bureau of Prisons ADX "supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, which since 2000 has banned all issues of PLN, claiming it constitutes "inmate correspondence." We are also suing the Florida DOC for its blanket ban on PLN due to our discount phone service ads. The details of each suit will be reported in an upcoming PLN as soon as they are filed. PLN is the only publication in the country which consistently stands up for the free speech rights of prisoners and publishers who wish to communicate with prisoners. PLN's censorship litigation results in significant changes. Right now PLN has a consent decree in Nevada, permanent injunctions in Washington and Oregon and binding settlements in Alabama, Oregon and Michigan. These suits are complex and expensive. They typically require extensive amounts of staff time from PLN's office employees to document, track and prepare our claims for submission to PLN's lawyers. Even when we win the case, this is time for which PLN is not always compensated, as sometimes prison officials lose on the merits but obtain qualified immunity from damages. PLN's staff time in answering discovery and such also cannot be compensated. Reader support is thus essential for PLN's ongoing First Amendment litigation.
Enjoy this issue of PLN and as the holidays approach, consider giving a gift subscription or ordering the books that PLN distributes for your friends and family.
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