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Free to Wardens But Not Convicts?

In response to a recent issue [April '97] of Prison Legal News, [you] apparently told your readers that free copies of the Federal Judicial Center publication "Resource Guide for Managing Prisoner Civil Rights Litigation" were available at no charge by writing to our office. That information is not correct.

When the Center first published the "Resource Guide" last year, we sent two copies to wardens in all federal and state adult long-term correctional facilities .... In all, we mailed over 2,000 copies of this publication at no charge to state and federal correctional facilities initially, and in response to subsequent requests from wardens and other prison officials we have sent hundreds of additional copies, also at no charge. Moreover, this publication is also available on the Internet at and may be downloaded and freely photocopied.

We have been flooded with over 400 letters from prisoners responding to the article in Prison Legal News. Although we usually respond to individual letters by advising inmates to refer to their prison libraries, we do not have the resources to respond to 400 letters. We ask that you print a correction in your next issue of Prison Legal News and inform your readers that they can find the "Resource Guide" in their prison library, but they will not receive individual copies by writing to the Federal Judicial Center. Replacement copies are available at no cost from the Center's Information Services Office at the address above (Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building; One Columbus Circle, NE; Washington, DC 20002-8003) when requested by the warden or superintendent.

-- Roger Karr
Information Services, FJC

[Editor's Note: So is the "Resource Guide" free? Or not? Apparently the answer depends on whether you are a "prison official" or an 'official prisoner." Some of our readers are wardens; most are prisoners who, by the way, can't surf the net from their cells.

We contacted the Federal Judicial Center and asked if persons who are not wardens and who want a copy of the "Resource Guide" may purchase one, and if so, for how much. As we go to press we await their reply.

As far as prisoners being able find the "Resource Guide" in their prison law library ... tell that to the 23,000 prisoners in Arizona whose prison law library doors were nailed shut on August 4, 1997 -- See the cover article in this issue of PLN]

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