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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

Breaking News: 18 Deaths in Six Months at Mississippi State Penitentiary

18 Deaths in Six Months at Mississippi State Penitentiary

by Derek Gilna

Prison Legal News has learned through a public records request that 18 prisoners died at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman in just over a six-month period. The most recent reported death was that of Terry Echols, who ...

Incarceration, Justice and the Planet: How the Fight Against Toxic Prisons May Shape the Future of Environmentalism

Prisons inspire little in terms of natural wonder. It might be a weed rises through a crack and blooms for a moment. It might be a prisoner notices. But prisoners, one could assume, must have little concern for the flowers or for otherwise pressing environmental issues. With all the social ...

U.S. Prisons Filled with America’s Mentally Ill

In April 2014, the National Sheriffs’ Association and Treatment Advocacy Center released a comprehensive joint report titled “The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey.” Authored by both experts in mental illness and law enforcement, the report described U.S. prisons and jails as ...

$8,000 Settlement for Medical Maltreatment by BOP; Court Finds Experts Not Required

Federal prisoner Michael Alan Crooker filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act alleging “malicious prosecution, negligence, and medical maltreatment by the United States Marshal’s Service (USMS) and the United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP).” Proceeding pro se, he survived a motion for summary judgment and eventually obtained an ...

Three California Jail Guards Charged in “Fight Club” Case

Scott Neu, the San Francisco deputy identified as the ringleader of a gladiator-style jailhouse “fight club,” was charged with four felony counts of assault under color of authority, four felony counts of making threats, four misdemeanor counts of inhumanity to a prisoner and five misdemeanor counts of inflicting cruel and ...

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