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Prisoner Education Guide

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

In the Eye of the Storm: When Hurricanes Impact Prisons and Jails

by Matt Clarke

Hurricanes and other major storms represent a significant threat to prisoners. Prisons and jails are often built on poorly-drained land located in flood plains or other environmentally-sensitive areas. Although meteorologists usually warn of hurricanes days or even weeks before they make landfall, prisoners cannot move themselves to ...

Protest Results in Three Arrests at CoreCivic’s Annual Shareholders Meeting

On May 10, 2018, drumbeats echoed and faux “blood” flowed through the parking lot at the Nashville, Tennessee headquarters of CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), as activists staged dramatic street theater to represent the sorrow, suffering and deaths of prisoners at the hands of the for-profit prison operator.

“Over ...

Why Prison Reform Is Not Enough to Fix the U.S. Criminal Justice System

by Ed Chung, Center for American Progress

The Trump administration kicked off 2018 by expressing a surprising, newfound interest in reforming the country’s prisons and strengthening opportunities for those incarcerated to successfully re-enter their communities upon completion of their sentences. In mid-January, the White House convened a group of conservative ...

Exclusive! Incorrect Cause of Tennessee Prisoner’s Death Reported by CoreCivic Employees


According to the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), state prisoner Edward Ray Gilley, Jr., 54, died on November 5, 2016 at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, a facility owned and operated by CoreCivic – previously known as Corrections Corporation of America.

            In response to a public records request ...

A Puerto Rican Federal Prisoner’s Horrifying Account of What the Prison did After Hurricane Maria

Milton Pinilla describes a horrific week of violence, humiliation and fear.

by Nick Chrastil,  ThinkProgress

Like much of Puerto Rico, the island’s only federal detention center ­– the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Guaynabo – lost running water and electricity when Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September. But ...

More articles



Prisoner Education Guide

Recent Headlines

This week's broadcast of "Criminal Injustice," a weekly segment of the radio program "Loud & Clear," features HRDC executive director and PLN editor Paul Wright joins the show to discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country, including how to organize a prison strike.



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