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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

Human Rights Defense Center Files Censorship Suit Against Illinois DOC

by Derek Gilna

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization and publisher of Prison Legal News, filed suit in federal court in Chicago on February 13, 2018, arguing the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) had censored or refused to deliver its publications sent to state prisoners in violation ...

Litigation Heats Up Over Extreme Temperatures in Prisons, Jails

by Matt Clarke and Christopher Zoukis

During a heat wave in the summer of 2017, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Medium Security Institution in St. Louis, Missouri and chanted “shut it down,” after a video showing prisoners at the jail begging for relief from soaring temperatures went viral ...

Exclusive! Prison Legal News Interviews South Carolina DOC Director Bryan Stirling


Prison Legal News Interviews South Carolina DOC Director Bryan Stirling

On May 25, 2018, Prison Legal News conducted a phone interview with South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling. The interview took place less than two months after a deadly riot at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville ...

Department of Defense: Art Created by Guantαnamo Bay Detainees Belongs to U.S.

by Christopher Zoukis

Professor Erin L. Thompson of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City created a stir when she decided to curate an exhibit of art created by “enemy combatants” detained at Guantanamo Bay. The exhibit, “Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantanamo Bay,” ...

The Inside Story of a Legendary Prison Debate Team

Our victories over college students weren’t just for us—they were for incarcerated people everywhere.

by Daniel S. Throop, The Marshall Project, in collaboration with Vice

“I can’t believe they lost!” I blurted out to confused looks from my five cellies while reading a recent edition of The New Yorker ...

More articles



Prisoner Education Guide


"Criminal Injustice"
Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, is a regular guest on the "Loud & Clear" podcast's Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” a segment about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Listen to this week's episode here or visit our media library, here, for an archive of past shows.
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