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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

Exclusive! Breaking News: Illinois Prisoner Exonerated, Released after Ten Years

Exclusive! Breaking News: Illinois Prisoner Exonerated, Released after Ten Years

by Derek Gilna 

The lies of Chicago police officers, as well as the concealment of clearly exculpatory evidence, kept Jermaine Walker in Illinois prisons for ten years – but he never stopped proclaiming his innocence. Plainclothes officers contended that on February ...

Jailhouse Medicine - A Private Contractor Flourishes Despite Controversy Over Prisoner Deaths

Jailhouse Medicine - A Private Contractor Flourishes Despite Controversy Over Prisoner Deaths

by Brian Joseph, FairWarning

In July 2011, a jailhouse nurse in Imperial County, California found prisoner Marsha Dau lying naked and dazed on the concrete floor. Charged with illegally transporting aliens, Dau, 58, recently had been exhibiting strange and ...

Massachusetts: Lawsuit Filed to Stop Dog Searches of Prison Visitors

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Boston-based Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLSM) and attorney Leonard Singer filed suit against the Massachusetts Department of Correction in January 2014 to prevent prison officials from using drug-sniffing dogs to search visitors.

“Putting visitors through the humiliation of dog searches will reduce visits ...

Excited Delirium Syndrome: Medical Condition or Cover-Up?

Debate is quietly raging within the medical and law enforcement communities about a diagnosis first identified more than 160 years ago which more recently has become associated with the deaths of people in police custody, many of whom were involved in physical altercations with officers or shocked with Tasers before ...

New Mexico: Sharon Jones’s Strep Death Among Shocking Prison Tragedies in Lawsuits

by Michael Roberts, Westword

Westword recently shared video showing the jailhouse death of Michael Lee Marshall. The homeless man, who suffered from symptoms associated with paranoid schizophrenia, choked on his own vomit after being restrained by Denver, Colorado deputies in a November 2015 incident the city coroner’s office has ...

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