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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


California wastes tens of millions of dollars a year keeping people in prison long after they’ve been rehabilitated – denying parole for arbitrary reasons and destroying lives in the process.

by Sam Levin, East Bay Express

Part One: Cruel and Indefinite Punishment

Demian Johnson knows he has to be extremely ...

Pennsylvania DOC Ordered to Evaluate Mumia Abu-Jamal for Hep C Treatment

Pennsylvania state prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, serving a life sentence for murder and diagnosed with hepatitis C, sued the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) in federal court when he was refused treatment for that life-threatening disease.

On January 3, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Marian granted Abu-Jamal ...

Florida’s Civil Commitment Center a “Living Death Sentence”

According to state officials, the Florida Civil Commitment Center (FCCC), which holds up to 720 residents billed as the worst sexual predators in the state, is necessary to ensure public safety. For Correct Care Recovery Solutions, a spin-off company of the GEO Group, one of the nation’s largest private ...

Still No Answers

Jamycheal Mitchell’s death in a Virginia jail cell still hasn’t been explained.
It should be a national scandal.

by Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

On August 19, 2015, 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell was found dead in his cell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Virginia. New revelations in May 2016 ...

Federal Halfway House Contractor Files Unsuccessful Suit Against Bureau of Prisons

On August 3, 2015, Bannum, Inc., a provider and operator of halfway houses for federal prisoners following their release, filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the federal Bureau of Prisons and various BOP officials, alleging they had “engaged in a ...

More articles



Prison Labor

    Upcoming CLE                        Seminar 

Human Rights Defense Center in collaboration with National Police Accountability Project are offering a two-day CLE seminar “Representing Victims of Law Enforcement Misconduct on the Street and in the Cell Block” in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 2-3, 2017. Read more on how to register and/or sponsor this exciting event here.

     Breaking News 



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