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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. We have also launched a companion publication, Criminal Legal News (CLN), which covers criminal case law, policing, prosecutorial misconduct and related issues. 
 
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 online 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).

 

We Oppose Florida Amendment 4!

This November, Florida citizens will be voting on a very important ballot initiative that will impact nearly 1.5 million people in the state. The restoration of voting rights for people with prior felony convictions is long overdue—but we must ask: why are some people still being left behind?

Click here for a fact sheet!

 


 

Recent PLN Articles

Washington State: Jail Phone Rates Increase as Video Replaces In-Person Visits

by Steve Horn and Iris Wagner

A comprehensive set of public records obtained by Prison Legal News from the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) and most of the state’s county jails indicates that the average cost of local and in-state phone calls made by Washington prisoners has steadily increased in ...

Angola Prison Lawsuit Poses Question: What Kind of Medical Care do Prisoners Deserve?

by Amanda Aronczyk & Katie Rose Quandt, WNYC Radio

In 2005, Francis Brauner was a quarter of the way through a 20-year prison sentence at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana, when he had an accident.

Brauner was imprisoned for a rape conviction, which he maintains was wrongful and part ...

Humanism to be Recognized as Approved Faith in North Carolina Prisons

by Kevin Bliss

On March 28, 2018, a federal district court entered a summary judgment order that held Humanism was in fact a faith group that must be recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Kwame Jamal Teague, incarcerated at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution, continually asked prison ...

Rhode Island: Life-sentenced Prisoner is “Civilly Dead,” Cannot Pursue Tort Claim

by Christopher Zoukis

The Rhode Island Supreme Court, citing an antiquated law that declares life-sentenced state prisoners legally “dead in all respects,” affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a prisoner’s negligence claim for damages suffered when he was attacked by another prisoner.

Dana Gallop was convicted of first-degree murder ...

Florida ICE Detention Center Restricts Detainees’ Observance of Ramadan

by Steve Horn

In the midst of Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for those of the Islamic faith, the Glades County Detention Center in Florida implemented a policy that banned some Muslim prisoners from participating in the religious observance.

One of the most fundamental parts of Ramadan is ...

Kentucky Reluctantly Returns to Prison Privatization

Overcrowding in Kentucky’s corrections system has spurred renewed interest in private prisons. Despite abandoning privately-operated prisons five years ago due to a number of problems, including sexual abuse of female prisoners by private prison guards, Kentucky officials have returned to privatization to relieve the state’s overcrowded prisons.

“This is simply ...

Advocacy Groups Call for End to Ban on In-person Visits at Tennessee Jail

A recent report on a ban on in-person visitation at the jail in Knox County, Tennessee concluded that the ban “makes the jail more dangerous, does nothing to stop the flow of contraband, and strips money from the pockets of families.”

In April 2014, the Knox County Jail (KCJ ...

More articles

 

 

Prisoner Education Guide

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WEEKLY AUDIO:
"Criminal Injustice"
 
Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, is a regular guest on the "Loud & Clear" podcast's Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” a segment about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Listen to this week's episode here or visit our media library, here, for an archive of past shows.
 
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