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Legal Action


"I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." -- Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine

Some prison and jail officials illegally censor PLN's monthly print publication, Prison Legal News, because they disagree with PLN's message and content. Others do so because they simply refuse to allow any written speech at all in their facilities in the form of books or magazines. Whatever the reason, PLN takes the censorship of its publications seriously and lititgates to enforce its constitutional rights when necessary.

PLN's censorship docket consists of challenges to official policies and practices that violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in ways that interfere with PLN's free speech rights, including the ability to communicate with prisoners. The goal is to open up mail policies not only for PLN's speech but for all publishers and others who want to communicate with people who are incarcerated. Only the courts have the power to issue orders and injunctions to correct illegal prison and jail policies and practices, and bring them into compliance with the Constitution. 

PLN also has an active docket of public records cases (including cases filed under the federal Freedom of Information Act), because it regularly encounters resistance to its public records requests when gathering news and researching criminal justice-related issues. Again, only a court can order prison or jail officials to produce copies of public records that they don't want to release.

In addition to First Amendment and public records cases, PLN has also joined a number of amicus curiae briefs in cases involving prison and criminal justice-related issues, which are listed below the map on this page.

Click on a highlighted state in the map below to review copies of pleadings in PLN's litigation in that jurisdiction.