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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. 

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

Opening the Door

by Jean Casella and Aviva Stahl, Solitary Watch

What will it take to end long-term solitary confinement in America’s prisons? Colorado could be the first to find out.

For 13 of his 22 years in prison, Cero Smith spent 23 hours a day alone in a small concrete cell. Three ...

California Prison Officials Shift Responsibility for Work Injuries to Prisoners

by Derek Gilna

California state prisons are known to be dangerous and violent places, but prisoners employed in industry programs at those facilities are also at serious risk of work-related injuries, as indicated by records maintained by the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA).

According to CALPIA, there have been over ...

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s Jail Under Fire for Deaths, Civil Rights Abuses

by Christopher Zoukis

At least four people, including a newborn, have died in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County Jail since April 2016. The facility, run by Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., houses about 950 detainees daily. The string of deaths has raised concerns about conditions at the jail, including whether adequate medical ...

HRDC/PLN Obtain Landmark Nationwide Censorship Settlement with Private Prison Company

by Derek Gilna

On July 24, 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization and publisher of Prison Legal News, entered into a settlement with private prison firm Management and Training Corp. (MTC), which has contracts to operate detention centers nationwide. The settlement agreement resolved what HRDC argued ...

FCC Chairman Called Out on Conflict of Interest Concerning Prison Phone Company

by Carrie Wilkinson

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) submitted a formal comment on three Federal Communications Commission dockets on August 9, 2017, accusing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who formerly represented prison telecom giant Securus Technologies, Inc., of having a conflict of interest. In its filings, HRDC noted that “not ...

More articles

 

 

Prisoner Education Guide

   Breaking News 

Notice: The Human Rights Defense Center is currently suing NUMI in US District Court in Portland, Oregon over its release debit card practices in that state. We are interested in litigating other cases against NUMI and the other debit card companies, including JPay, Keefe, EZ Card, Futura Card Services, Access Corrections, Release Pay and TouchPay, that exploit prisoners and arrestees in this manner. If you have had your money taken by any of these companies and been charged fees to access your funds on a debit card after being released from prison or jail within the last 18 months, we want to hear from you. Please contact Carrie Wilkinson at cwilkinson@humanrightsdefensecenter.org, or call (206) 257-1355, or write: HRDC, SPP Debit Cards, P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460.

 
 
 
 

 

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Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 

Federal Prison Handbook

 

Prisoner Education Guide side