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What Some People Have to Say About PLN's 15th Anniversary

As a civil rights litigator specializing in prison cases, I have read virtually every issue of PLN since its first newsletter was published 15 years ago. This publication is an essential resource for everyone concerned about human rights. Congratulations to PLN for reaching this great milestone. We all look forward to your next 180 issues.

Patricia Arthur,
Director, Institutions Project
Columbia Legal Services
Seattle, WA

Prison Legal News is the one publication that I read cover-to-cover every issue. In these days of struggle, when prisoners have so few resources to support and sustain their legal work, Prison Legal News remains a beacon of hope in a dark and forbidding judicial landscape.

Elizabeth Alexander
Director, ACLU
National Prison Project
Washington D.C.

The celebration of PLN's 15th Anniversary is a truly momentous occasion. Not only does this birthday remind us of the bold passion, the unsparing dedication, and the certain perseverance of PLN's staff, it is a tribute to the presence that PLN has carved into the lexicon of freedom and justice in America.

Prisons are better places today because of the tireless work of PLN. Prison guards and administrators are beginning to understand that there is a voice that will shout to the world about the crass brutality and senseless vacuity that is so common to prison life. The American public is better aware of the real costs and the enormous wastefulness of prisons because of the spotlight that PLN has lit. Seeing that spotlight, prisoners have begun to shed the aura of hopelessness and mind-control that prisons work so hard to instill in their massive and growing populations of sheeple. The fight to protect human rights has benefited from the constant exposure that PLN provides; and, while that fight still has a long way to go, PLN has become the lightening rod of inspiration for the downtrodden.

The Editors and Publishers of Punch and Jurists salute PLN and its staff, and we thank them for always being there. They give us confidence that, with the right leadership, we can and we will overcome.

Peter Schmidt
Editor, Punch and Jurists
New York, NY

Because PLN is written mostly by prisoners or former prisoners, PLN is a vital source of information on how legal developments impact the real lives of prisoners. PLN also provides information about legal developments I wouldn't know about without extensive research. And, because I was privileged to write the Pro Se Tips and Tactics column for several years, PLN gave me the opportunity to share some of my legal knowledge. Lawyers should de-mystify" the law, and writing the column allowed me to try to do just that. Thanks for a great run, with more to come, for a unique publication.

John Midgley
Director, Columbia Legal Services
Seattle, WA (Former PLN Columnist)

Back in 1996, when I had been working at The Progressive for only few months, my editor handed me a clipping from Prison Legal News noting that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had introduced a little-known restraint weapon called the stun belt. That three-inch clipping led to my first investigative article for The Progressive, and to a long-term interest in human-rights reporting on American prisons. Prison Legal News is an invaluable publication. Please accept my hearty congratulations on fifteen important years. I wish you many, many more.

Anne-Marie Cusac
Investigative Reporter
The Progressive
Madison, WI

I recently faced the problem: How to make known to prisoners all over the country that for two years my book Lucasville: The Untold Story Of A Prison Uprising (Temple University Press) would be available to prisoners free, instead of my taking royalties? The answer was PLN! This is a small example in my personal experience of the way in which Prison Legal News knits together prisoners and advocates outside the bars. If we are to make real the idea of creating history from below, compelling our leaders to lead by obeying" (as the Zapatistas say), then newsletters that offer meeting places and an opportunity to exchange ideas are indispensable.

Staughton Lynd
Attorney, Historian, Labor
Organizer, Writer
Niles, OH

Ever since Human Rights Watch began regular work on U.S. prison conditions, PLN has been an important source of news for us. Our research projects have also benefited greatly from the being able to reach a wide number of prisoners through notices placed in it. We wish it many more anniversaries!!

Jamie Fellner
Director, Human Rights Watch
New York, NY

Over the years that I was working on American Gulag: Inside US Immigration Prisons, it was important for me to have a sense of prison conditions and prison-related litigation around the country. PLN was extremely valuable in helping me to do that.

Mark Dow
Journalist, Author
New York, NY

PLN has been a great source of information to all of us at Western Prison Project. The hard-hitting investigative articles, the information on legal cases, have all been news we can use" and is of great value to our members. But more than that, PLN has been a great ally in the work for criminal justice reform. When we were just getting off the ground, PLN was there to provide advice and share resources. Later, PLN was there to help us with legal strategies on censorship and other issues. And through it all, PLN has been a strong voice on behalf of prisoners' rights. Thank you, Prison Legal News!

Brigette Sarabi
Executive Director
Western Prison Project
Portland, OR

I only subscribe to two publications anymore, and PLN is one of them. PLN has helped me win cases, and keeps me informed on developments around the country. I applaud your efforts!

Stephen Pevar
Senior Staff Counsel, ACLU
Hartford, CT

Congratulations to PLN! Getting established was a great feat, which you have continually matched and exceeded. It's not surprising to me that the best source about US prison legal news is produced by prisoners, ex-prisoners and their supporters but it's amazing what you've accomplished over the years, despite all the obstacles and challenges. Knowledge is power and sunlight is the best disinfectant. Best wishes for many more years!

Scott Christianson (author)
Sands Lake, NY

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