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From the Editor

This issues marks PLN?s 19th anniversary of continuous publishing and we have now published 219 consecutive issues of PLN. Few magazines even publish ten issues, much less a hundred. Moreso considering the obstacles PLN has faced since it?s inception of being published behind bars, with a $50 budget, etc.

When we first started it was easy to thank everyone who had supported PLN and made the magazine a success. As the years passed that list grew longer and longer to the point we could no longer thank everyone individually. And along the way some of these supporters died. We would like to thank everyone who has supported PLN over the years: our writers, subscribers, donors, lawyers, advertisers, staff, volunteers and work study students. PLN has grown slowly but steadily over the years even as the rest of the prison press collapsed and went under.

Today PLN has six full time employees and a number of volunteers and work study students who publish the magazine, get it to readers and do a lot more each month. In addition to the magazine there is also the advocacy we do on behalf of prisoners, especially with the media; the censorship litigation (but for PLN?s efforts some 300,000 prisoners in 8 states would not be receiving the publications and mail they currently receive), investigative reporting and much more. We look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary next year.

The cover story of this issue is part of our ongoing series of articles on conditions and issues in jails around the country. Frequently ignored by the media and advocates alike, the jails in both large cities and small towns are often even bigger pits of misery and human rights abuses than state and federal prison systems. Unlike prisons which are often in rural, remote parts of the states, jails are in the cities themselves, close to the nexus of media, political power and legal resources. As this month?s cover story notes, it is not just jails in the deep south that are troubled, poorly managed and corrupt, but those in major cities around the country have the same problems.

PLN just ended its annual fundraiser and it raised a total of $15,920 in donations from subscribers which met our matching grant fundraiser total of $15,000. With the matching grant our fundraising total was $30,920. We would like to thank everyone who donated. We are using the funds for much needed technological upgrades in our office, including updating our software and computers and office equipment.

To boost our circulation we are once again doing our subscription madness campaign, readers can purchase gift subscriptions for new subscribers at bargain rate prices. Help spread the word and let people know about PLN.

We are still tabulating the results of our reader survey. We hope to report the results in an upcoming issue of PLN. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey as well.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe.

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