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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).


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     Recent PLN Articles

Hep C: The Deadliest Killer in Colorado’s Prisons is a Curable Virus

by Alan Prendergast, Westword

When Joseph Deaguero went to prison almost three years ago, he had a pretty good idea of what to expect. He had been behind bars before, for a series of assaults and domestic-violence arrests. But this time around, Deaguero, who’s currently 52 years old and ...

Epidemic of Suicides in California Women’s Prison

by Christopher Zoukis

Suicides at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino have surged to alarming levels. Six prisoners have killed themselves within the past three years, according to Krissi Khokhobashvili, spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). In the same period, she added, there were ...

Continued Failure in Privatized Medical Care at Kentucky Jails

by David M. Reutter

Private medical contractors have become popular among corrections officials eager to reduce the cost of providing health care to prisoners. As PLN continues to chronicle this phenomenon, we continue to find substantial evidence that for-profit companies fail to provide adequate medical care – including in county jails ...

Is Risk Prediction Real Criminal Justice Reform or Junk Science?

by Joe Watson

With its criminal justice system bursting at the seams, one state has decided to take a controversial step to alleviate the pressure.

In 2015, Pennsylvania officials indicated the state would become the first in the nation to mandate the widespread use of risk predictors (also referred to ...

“Deal with the Devil” Turning on Mississippi Counties

by David M. Reutter

As mass incarceration in the United States grew between 1990 and 2005, many lawmakers decided to ride the wave of “tough on crime” rhetoric by building new correctional facilities to house the increasing number of people being arrested, convicted and incarcerated. During that period, 544 detention ...

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Prisoner Education Guide

   Breaking News 

Notice: The Human Rights Defense Center is currently suing NUMI in US District Court in Portland, Oregon over its release debit card practices in that state. We are interested in litigating other cases against NUMI and the other debit card companies, including JPay, Keefe, EZ Card, Futura Card Services, Access Corrections, Release Pay and TouchPay, that exploit prisoners and arrestees in this manner. If you have had your money taken by any of these companies and been charged fees to access your funds on a debit card after being released from prison or jail within the last 18 months, we want to hear from you. Please contact Carrie Wilkinson at, or call (206) 257-1355, or write: HRDC, SPP Debit Cards, P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460.



Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual


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