Subtitled a "Comprehensive Practice Manual" for California prisoners, the new 3rd edition of the California State Prisoners Handbook easily lives up to its billing. Covering in detail all aspects of California prisoners' interaction with the "correctional experience" from reception to parole, this 900 page soft-back volume is the state prisoner's single most important reference book to own and study.
Although written especially for California state prisoners, it is also an invaluable reference for attorneys practicing criminal law. The authors, from the venerable Prison Law Office operating near San Quentin Prison, have themselves "been down" for over 20 yearswhen they produced the 1st edition. These seasoned litigators, who are personally responsible for many of the successful published cases they now cite, offer the wisdom that only comes from having lived in the trenches of prison law, coupled with well-developed skills of communicating complex legal issues with non-legally trained convicts who typify California's 160,000 prisoners and 100,000 parolees.
Written in straightforward language, not in "legalese," each chapter stands alone, ready to help solve a unique problem such as prisoners' rights, administrative regulations, prisoner appeals, time credits, and disciplinary proceedings. Other chapters cover holds/detainers, interstate compacts, and medical, parole, lifer and civil commitment issues. A new chapter on workers' compensation includes an extensive listing of whom to contact for job training assistance in each of California's 58 counties. For California's 22,000 prisoners with immigration holds, there is a chapter on INS procedures.
If your mettle turns to pro per litigation, the chapters on legal research, criminal appeals, state and federal habeas corpus, writs of mandamus, and federal civil rights have not only the current (to August 2000) statutory laws and caselaw, but are supplemented with sample court forms for every federal district and state court within California.
Want your paperwork to look professional? Just follow the samples of each type of pleading, located in the 300 page appendix. (Each chapter of the appendix is keyed to the text of the chapter it supports, and provides a wide range of appropriate state forms.)
The Handbook is indexed by case citation, topic, prison regulation, court rules, and by statute. Throughout the book there are useful reference tables, including court addresses, prison descriptions, and Veterans Administration offices.
The California State Prisoners Handbook is available from: Prison Law Office, General Delivery, San Quentin, California 94964 ($40.00 subsidized prisoner-only price, including tax and shipping). This book will easily pay for itself if it shortens your prison/parole experience by only one day.
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