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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

Betraying the Promise of Accreditation: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Widespread disdain for people held in prisons and jails, public apathy for humane conditions in detention facilities, tough-on-crime political rhetoric and the privatization of correctional services by for-profit companies have taken a collective toll on the quality of our nation’s criminal justice system. Outwardly, organizations like the American Correctional ...

Supreme Court Sets Aside Death Penalty Conviction on Batson Grounds

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-1 decision, left no doubt that it did not believe prosecutors’ assertions that race was not a factor during jury selection in a death penalty case. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority in a May 23, 2016 decision, found that prosecutors ...

Congressional Black Caucus PAC Urged to Cut Ties with Private Prison Lobbyists

The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) says that it works to increase the number of African-Americans in the U.S. Congress, support non-black candidates who champion black interests, and promote African American participation in the political process.

However, Color of Change (CoC), the nation’s largest online ...

Court Issues New Injunction Mandating Education for NYC Prisoners at Rikers Island

Prisoners’ rights advocates know that education is a key element of reducing recidivism, and the federal Bureau of Prisons and most state departments of corrections agree. However, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has had to continue its decade-long oversight of the infamous Rikers ...

In California Death Row’s “Adjustment Center,” Condemned Men Wait in Solitary Confinement

by Alyssa Stryker, Solitary Watch

“When we were sentenced to death,” wrote Carlos M. Argueta from death row in California, “we weren’t sentenced to be mistreated, humiliated, discriminated against, psychologically tortured and kept in solitary dungeons until the day of our executions. Never once did the judge say that ...

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