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From the Editor

As we publish our second issue with PLN’s new design, the feedback we have received so far has been overwhelmingly positive, including with respect to our expanded size.
The additional pages are important as they allow us to include even more news and legal content.

I would like to remind readers who have direct or indirect Internet access that PLN’s website,, is the most comprehensive site when it comes to detention facility litigation and news. Every issue of PLN is online and we have over 26,000 articles in our website database, including the largest collection of detention facility verdicts and settlements available anywhere. Our brief bank contains around 6,000 legal pleadings, from complaints and briefs to motions and more. With over 23 years of data, we have a substantial amount of information on prisons, jails and criminal justice-related topics.

The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice continues to move forward. As this issue goes to press more than 700 prisoners have contacted the FCC to request caps on interstate prison phone rates. Prisoners’ family members have submitted many comments, too. The letters are eloquent in pointing out the inherent injustice and unfairness of the current status quo, in which prison phone companies profit while prisoners and their families suffer financially. PLN and several other organizations filed detailed comments with the FCC on March 25, 2013, asking that the FCC cap interstate prison phone rates at $.05 per minute with no additional fees or surcharges.

We have devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to gathering the hard data required to support our FCC comment – including updated state-by-state prison phone rates and commission percentages and amounts – and putting it into an easily-digestible format. Only PLN and the telecom industry have such comprehensive, current data concerning prison phone calls, and the latter is not eager to share it. We hope to be able to declare a victory in the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice in the near future, then can begin to focus attention on individual states to lower the cost of in-state calls made from prisons and jails.

New subscribers should note that PLN also publishes books, and we currently have two titles in print: the Prisoners’ Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the U.S. and Canada and The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Both are written by current or former prisoners; see our book store list on pages 61-62.

We are seeking new titles to publish, specifically non-fiction self-help and reference books useful to prisoners. PLN pays the most competitive royalties in the publishing business. If you are a qualified author with a solid book proposal, or know one, please contact us and direct your proposal to Susan Schwartzkopf, our book project director. Keep the proposal to one page; if it’s of interest we will respond with additional questions. Titles should be on topics that appeal to prisoners on a national level, and we require manuscript submissions in electronic format if we decide to publish the book.

Last, but certainly not least, prison and jail officials across the country continue to censor PLN. Ironically, the more successes we achieve in court when challenging unconstitutional censorship practices, the more we are censored. We take censorship of PLN and the materials we distribute very seriously. Often, prison and jail staff never bother to inform us that they have rejected our publications. If you are notified that anything sent to you by PLN or the Human Rights Defense Center has been censored or rejected, please mail us a copy of the notice you received and file grievances, appeals or other available administrative remedies, then send us any responses.

Last February we had a bench trial in Portland, Oregon challenging the Columbia County Jail’s postcard-only policy. [See: PLN, March 2013, p.51]. We are also scheduled to go to trial in Florida in August 2013 in a lawsuit challenging a statewide ban on PLN, purportedly due to our advertising content. Even states that are currently under PLN consent decrees or injunctions, such as California, continue to be problematic. Therefore, please keep us informed if you are not receiving PLN’s publications. It is pointless to publish a magazine that doesn’t reach its target audience.

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

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