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From the Editor

I generally don’t write about books in my monthly editorial but this is an unusual month. PLN’s first book, the long awaited and much anticipated Prisoners’ Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the US and Canada has been printed and is now being shipped. The third edition of the book has been completely updated and is revamped and professionally laid out and designed, and remains the only comprehensive book of its type written by an imprisoned distance learner, Jon Marc Taylor, a Missouri prisoner, who can accurately state what schools have to offer. We are very pleased with the outcome.

PGH is the first in a line of books PLN will be publishing and we plan to focus on self-help reference books that are of interest to prisoners. We welcome suggestions on topics as well as book proposals by qualified writers.

PLN columnist Mumia Abu Jamal has also released a book, Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. The USA, which PLN is also distributing. I was honored when Mumia asked me to be the keynote speaker at the party launching the book to be held in Philadelphia on April 24 at the Church of the Advocate. April 24th is also Mumia’s 55th birthday. I will also be speaking at the Riverside Church in New York City the next day, April 25, and other events around the country related to Mumia’s book. This is one of the few books to examine the role that jailhouse lawyers play politically and legally within the prison system in this country. At a time when prisoners face more obstacles than at any time in the past 40 years in gaining meaningful access to the courts, this book is timely and important. We will run a more detailed review of it in an upcoming issue of PLN.

The headlines have been filled with scare stories of breaking state budgets and even some prisons being closed. But a funny thing has happened on the way to prison closures: prisoners are generally not being released. Rather marginal prisons that long ago ceased to be cost effective to operate have been shuttered and prisoners are being consolidated in larger, more cost efficient prisons. Typically the media reports plans to release prisoners and this duly ensures that legislators appropriate whatever amount of money is needed to keep the prison machine running and filled to capacity. PLN will report these developments as they occur.

Last month’s issue of PLN included our reader survey. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete and return the survey to us so we will know how we can better help and serve you, our readers. Next month marks PLN’s 19th anniversary and we want to continue bringing our readers the best prison and jail news coverage we can and, most importantly, news you can use.

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