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Articles by Dan Pens

From the Editor

Last month Paul announced our (much regretted) impending rate increase. A year ago we raised our Institutional rate from $35 to $50/yr, but our individual rate remained at $12/yr. This year, as of September 1, we are raising the individual rate. We are also splitting the individual rate ...

Brig Fire Sparks Political Debate

On March 29, 1996, several "illegal aliens" allegedly used electrical wire to ignite toilet paper, sheets and mattresses at a military brig at Miramar Naval Air Station in California. The resulting fire, and especially the smoke, created havoc. Panicked prisoners began to riot.

"What they did not calculate is that ...

TVs for Justice

According to a Tulsa newspaper, Oklahoma prisoner Bruce Hawkins filed a suit in which he claimed he was assaulted and abused by prison guards and then denied medical treatment. Federal district court judge Ralph Thompson held there was no merit to the case and ordered Hawkins to pay $5,567 ...

From the Editor

I welcome you to the 74th consecutive monthly issue of PLN. When we first published in 1990, the state of Washington attempted to deny delivery of PLN to every prisoner in the state. PLN made it clear that we'd challenge the ban in court, however, and senior DOC officials ...

Microsoft Out-Cells Competition

In the Seattle area, home to software giant Microsoft, it's not uncommon to hear the phrase "Microsoft Millionaire." There exists a large number of ex-Microsoft employees who made their millions, quit the company, and are now free to enjoy other pursuits. Many of them are quite young, in their ...

Racist Guards at Florida Prison

Rarely do you find reports of racist actions of prison guards in the mainstream press. Most editors wouldn't consider it news for white prison guards to display racial hatred towards their black captives. Ho-hum. But the Palm Beach Post featured several lengthy articles in December about the racist actions ...

From the Editor

We want to thank the Southern Poverty Law Center for awarding a $5,000 grant to PLN. We still need $30,000 over the next two years to fund what amounts to a full-time staff position. The $5,000 grant from SPLC will give us breathing room and allow us ...

From the Editor

PLN has reached the point where we need at least one full time staff person on the outside. The amount of work that needs to be done is beginning to overwhelm our volunteers. The trouble with the idea that we pay someone is simple: We can't afford it. At ...

Kidnapping and Extortion, Texas Style

In the dead of the night, they come to your cell. You wake up with a flashlight shining in your face. You hear the rattle of chains. "Roll 'em up, boy... you're goin' for a ride.' The next day you get a bed roll and make your new bunk ...

Arizona Prisoners Charged for Electricity

The 1995 Arizona legislature passed a law (AZ Rev. Statutes § 31-239) that requires the AZ DOC to establish a plan wherein prisoners will be charged a monthly "utility fee." The statute directs the DOC to collect a monthly fee, "not to exceed two dollars per month," from any "prisoner who ...