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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

Apples-to-Fish: Public and Private Prison Cost Comparisons

by Alex Friedmann*

It sounds like such a simple question: do private prisons save money? The answer, however, is dependent on a number of factors – including how “saving money” is defined.

Consider that in 2013, the nation’s largest for-profit prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), made $300.8 ...

U.S. Department of Justice Finds Fault with Privatized Federal Prisons

Privately-operated federal prisons, also known as contract prisons, have more violence, use-of-force incidents and contraband seizures than facilities run by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), among other findings in an August 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The 86-page ...

Alabama Public Service Commission Enacts Prison, Jail Phone Reforms

Over the past several years, the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued a series of orders that revise an October 2013 order related to rule changes for Inmate Calling Services (ICS). The PSC issued its most recent directive in February 2016, adopting rate caps set by the Federal Communications ...

Supreme Court: Sixth Amendment Prevents Pretrial Seizure of Untainted Assets

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had permitted the federal government’s pretrial seizure of a criminal defendant’s untainted assets. Sila Luis, charged with health care fraud, possessed approximately $2 million in assets that were unconnected to her alleged crime ...

Oregon Federal Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Release Debit Card Suit

On August 25, 2016, a federal district court in Oregon denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former prisoner Danica Love Brown, who had filed a class-action complaint naming Stored Value Cards, Inc. d/b/a Numi Financial and Central National Bank and Trust Company as defendants.

Brown ...

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