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PLN is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center


Welcome to Prison Legal News!

Prison Legal News (PLN), a project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, is a 72-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and prison and jail-related civil litigation, with an emphasis on prisoners' rights. PLN has published continuously since 1990 and covers a wide range of topics that include prison labor, rape and sexual abuse, misconduct by prison and jail staff, prisoners' constitutional rights, racial and socioeconomic disparities in our criminal justice system, medical and mental health care for prisoners, disenfranchisement, rehabilitation and recidivism, prison privatization, prison and jail phone rates, women prisoners, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), prison censorship, the death penalty, HIV and hep C, solitary confinement and control units, and much more.

In 2013, PLN received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. 

This website includes all of PLN's articles published since 1990 plus thousands of other articles, case reports, publications and pleadings. 

To search PLN's articles and other content, click "Search Content" on the top menu bar. For recent news articles that mention PLN and the Human Rights Defense Center or quote PLN staff, click "In the News" (which also includes our press releases). For our litigation project, which tracks our First Amendment lawsuits, public records cases and other legal actions, click "Litigation."

PLN's monthly magazine is a subscription publication. We have thousands of subscribers nationwide, and around 65-70% are incarcerated. We also offer website subscriptions that provide full access to all content on our website (most of our news content is free, but a subscription is required to access some of our legal content). For subscription options and fees, please click on "Subscribe" on the menu bar.

PLN also distributes a number of criminal justice, legal and self-help books through our Book Store. Plus we do much more -- for a better understanding of everything we do, please review our Annual Reports (also available under the "About" tab).


 

     Recent PLN Articles

The Financial Firm that Cornered the Market on Jails

Thousands of arrestees a year are forced into get-out-of-jail-broke cards that are loaded up with deceptive fees.

by Arun Gupta, The Nation

A year and a half ago, after a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, protests ...

Despite Lack of State License, ICE Family Detention Center Continues Operating

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PDHS) issued a statement saying it “believes that the current use of the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC) as a family residential center is inconsistent with its current license as a child residential facility.”

The statement was hailed as a message to ...

Settlement in Baltimore Prison Conditions Class-action Suit

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (MDPSCS) agreed to a settlement in a class-action suit challenging conditions of confinement and the provision of medical care at the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC).

The case encompassed BCDC and the Women’s Detention Center, the Jail Industries Building, the ...

Prisoners Say They Paid a Bloody Price for a Guard’s Injury

Prisoners describe a rampage by correctional officers in a New York prison.

The prisoners were just starting their day on July 6, 2016 when dozens of corrections officers burst into their dormitory, shouting for everyone to get down on the floor. The raid at Mid-State Correctional Facility, outside Utica, N ...

Obama Sets Record for Commutations Granted, and for Those Denied

Former President Barack Obama has been widely commended for granting a record 1,927 applications for clemency during his two terms in office from January 20, 2009 through January 19, 2017, consisting of 1,715 commutations and 212 pardons. Those figures are higher than the clemencies granted by the previous ...

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