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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. 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).

 

We Oppose Florida Amendment 4!

This November, Florida citizens will be voting on a very important ballot initiative that will impact nearly 1.5 million people in the state. The restoration of voting rights for people with prior felony convictions is long overdue—but we must ask: why are some people still being left behind?

Click here for a fact sheet!

 


 

Recent PLN Articles

Solitary Instead of Treatment of Mentally Ill Prisoner Costs New Mexico Jail $2 Million

by R. Bailey

New Mexico’s Otero County Board of County Commissioners agreed to pay a former Otero County Detention Center (OCDC) pretrial detainee $2 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit that alleged punishment without due process.

The suit claimed that OCDC had a policy or practice of placing mentally ...

At the Federal Supermax, When Does Isolation Become Torture?

by Alan Prendergast, Westword

You see them on TV, usually around the time they are arrested. Men who have declared war on America, combatants in a conflict that never ends. They are captured on the street and at airports, in mid-stride and sometimes in mid-attack.

Some of them have ...

Private Prison Firms Use Revolving Door Lobbying, Generous Campaign Donations

by Steve Horn

It’s an even-numbered year, which makes sense because, as is the norm, what’s going on in our nation’s capital is anything but odd. That is, big money once again is flowing into Congressional campaign coffers from corporate interests, aiming to influence the 2018 midterm elections. And as ...

Prison Food and Commissary Services: A Recipe for Disaster

by David M. Reutter

Food plays an integral role in our lives. It not only provides the nutrition necessary to sustain our existence, it feeds the sense of community we all crave. Social bonds are made as we break bread with those who sit and dine with us at the ...

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 ...

More articles

 

 

Calls 4 Home

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WEEKLY AUDIO:
"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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