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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).


Recent PLN Articles

The Other Family Separation: Prisoners Fight to Keep Their Children

by Victoria Law

Ayana Aubourg was seven years old when her father was sentenced to 10 years in prison. For the next decade he parented through letters, weekly phone calls and once-a-year visits. He missed most of her childhood – picking her up from school, helping her with her ...

Wasted Minds: Prisoners Languish in Florida Prisons with Little Access to Education

by Ryan McKinnon and Josh Salman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune / GateHouse Media

Dade Correctional Institution employs one teacher for a population of 1,500 men – and just 16 prisoners have earned GED diplomas there over the past four years.

Union Correctional Institution, a North Florida prison with a capacity of nearly ...

Beyond Estelle: Medical Rights for Incarcerated Patients

by Greg Dober

Like most other individuals, prisoners sometimes need medical attention for ailments, injuries and diseases. However, there appears to be a misconception about prisoners’ medical rights among physicians, medical administrators, prison and jail staff, and law enforcement officials. This article will review some of the medical rights and ...

California Tried to Fix Its Prisons. Now County Jails Are More Deadly

In a 48-hour stretch during January 2018, three men were booked into the Fresno County Jail. One was beaten into a coma. Two died soon afterward. Their cases kicked off a nightmarish year in a local jail where problems trace back to California’s sweeping 2011 prison downsizing and criminal justice reforms. ...

Opioid Epidemic Impacts Prisons and Jails

by Steve Horn

It has killed far more Americans than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, claiming over 200,000 lives since 2010 according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. It has swept the nation, from large cities to small towns in every state. A 2017 report from ...

Force-Feeding is Cruel, Painful and Degrading – and American Prisons Won’t Stop

In a Colorado supermax facility, hunger-striking inmates have been force-fed and barred from sharing their ordeal with the outside world. A prisoner breaks his silence for the first time.

by Aviva Stahl, The Nation

It was November 11, 2015, and Mohammad Salameh hadn’t eaten in 34 days. The morning ...

CoreCivic Prisons in Tennessee Have Twice as Many Murders, Four Times the Homicide Rate as State-Run Facilities

On June 10, 2019, the Human Rights Defense Center and No Exceptions Prison Collective reported that from 2014 through June 2019, there were twice as many murders in the four Tennessee prisons operated by CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) than in the 10 prisons run by the Tennessee Department ...

More articles



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"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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