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  • PLO Attorney to Receive Award for Contributions to Youth Justice

    Lynn Wu,  has been nominated by Chief Jill Silva of the Stanislaus County Probation Department to receive the Tim Fitzharris Award.

    The Tim Fitzharris Award is awarded annually to a non-probation employee who has made a significant contribution to the criminal justice system.  Ms. Wu’s nomination is a result of her contributions she has made in improving services for justice-involved youth over the last few years..

  • PLO Co-Sponsored Bill SB-1157 Vetoed by Gov. Brown – In-Person Visits in CA Jails Remain at Risk

    PRESS RELEASE – Office of Senator Holly J. Mitchell

    Sacramento, CA – Today, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 1157, which would have protected in-person visitation in California’s county jails, saying in his veto message that although he was concerned about eliminating in-person visitation, the bill didn’t offer enough flexibility.




  • AZ Teen Held in Isolation Commits Suicide After ADOC Ignores Warning From Prison Law Office About Declining Mental Health


    New evidence shows that a few weeks before a teenager held in solitary confinement at Perryville Prison died in what appears to be an act of suicide, the Arizona Department of Corrections had been specifically warned about her deteriorating mental health and notified that the conditions in which she was being kept likely violated state policy.

  • Two Wardens Retire After Prison Law Office Investigation


    SACRAMENTO–The wardens at California’s two major women’s prisons have retired amid allegations of pervasive problems at both institutions, including sexual abuse of female inmates at one prison and suicides at the other.    Full Story

    Follow-up:KQED "California Report" Interview With PLO Director On Abuse of Women Prisoners

    Follow-up:Prison Law Office Report on Problems at CCWF

    August 19, 2016   –   From the very top of its former management, CCWF has incubated an institutional culture that permits, condones, and covers up abuse; that allows staff to retaliate against prisoners seeking assistance; and that prevents prisoners from seeking help from entities outside the institution. This corrosive atmosphere of fear and violence stems from a widespread failure of staff to perform the most basic requirements of their jobs.

  • North Dakota: DOJ Changes Course After European Criminal Justice Project Participation

  • Bill to Prohibit California Jails From Eliminating In-Person Visitation Passes Senate


    Sacramento, CA – The California Senate approved a bill authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D- Los Angeles) to prohibit California jails from eliminating in-person visits. SB 1157, the Strengthening Family Connections: In-Person Visitation bill, would preserve visitation rights for people in California county jails, juvenile facilities, and private facilities by clarifying that video technology cannot replace in-person visits. After passing the Senate 32-6 with bipartisan support, SB 1157 now heads to the Assembly.


    Follow-up:CA Assembly Passes County Jail In-Person Visitation Bill

    Sacramento, CA The California Assembly passed a bill authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) to prohibit California jails from eliminating in-person visitation.

    SB 1157, the Strengthening Family Connections: In-Person Visitation bill, would preserve visitation
    rights for people in California county jails by requiring facilities that have eliminated or plan to eliminate in-person visitation, to offer in-person visitation. After passing the Assembly 4820 with strong bipartisan support, SB 1157 will head to Governor Brown’s desk following Senate approval of amendments made in the Assembly.

  • Phoenix New Times Article Features Prison Law Office Lawsuit Against Arizona Department of Corrections

    The May 19, 2016 cover story of the Phoenix New Times newspaper features the tragic experience of an Arizona woman who needlessly died due to ADC’s and Corizon’s failure to treat her cervical cancer, and details the problems uncovered by the Parsons v. Ryan lawsuit filed by our office, the ACLU, and other attorneys challenging the state’s broken health care system.

  • Alameda County Halts Juvenile Probation Fees

    As a result of efforts by advocates, including the Prison Law Office, thousands of low income Alameda county families will no longer have to pay juvenile probation and public defender fees.


  • California Resolves Long-running Lawsuit Over Youth Prisons

    After 12 years of reform efforts, conditions in California’s Department of Juvenile Justice Facilities  have improved greatly.  As a result, the parties have agreed to end court oversight and monitoring in the Farrell class action lawsuit.


  • Building Awareness of Transgender Inmates

    Prison Law Office has been corresponding with a number of transgender people in California prisons.  We hope to better understand and help advocate for safer conditions.  We will continue to learn from transgender people in prison about issues they are facing and work with them on acknowledging and enforcing their rights under federal law and the Prison Rape Elimination Act national standards.

Resources all resources

  • PLO Supports Proposition 57


    Proposition 57 does three main things:

    1.   The initiative authorizes parole consideration for any person convicted of a non-violent felony offense and sentenced to state prison after completing  the  full term for his or her primary offense.  The full term for the primary offense means the longest term imposed by the court for any offense, excluding enhancements, consecutive sentences, or alternative sentences.

    2.   The initiative provides that the CDCR shall “have authority to award credits earned for good behavior and approved rehabilitative or educational achievements,”  “adopt regulations in furtherance of these provisions,” and “certify that these regulations protect and enhance public safety.” It is not clear what this means and whether there would actually be any changes in prison credits, or what changes there would be

    3. The initiative would eliminate laws that require some teenagers accused of very serious crimes to be prosecuted in adult criminal court.  Judges, rather than prosecutors, would continue to have the authority to decide when teenagers are tried as adults.  The initiative does not include any specific statement as to whether the change would or would not have any retroactive application.

    The Youth Justice Coalition has put together these materials to help get out the vote, including clarification on who is eligible to vote.

  • US-European Criminal Justice Program Going Strong


    Overview:  The US-European Criminal Justice Innovation Program is working to bring the innovative and humane approaches to sentencing, diversion, treatment (physical and behavioral health), conditions of confinement, and community reentry systems, practiced by the Norwegian Criminal Justice System, applied here in the US.

    North Dakota: DOJ Changes Course: Pilot Program is a Success

    Hawaii:  The Work Begins with First Task Force Meeting

    North Dakota: Judge Learns Valuable Lesson in Norway

    Project Photo Gallery.

  • SB260/SB261 Youthful Offender Parole Guide

    freedom youth ini

    This Youthful Offender Parole Guide provides detailed information about the laws that allow many prisoners to seek early parole for crimes they committed prior to age 23.  The Guide also has practical tips for convincing the BPH to grant early parole.

  • Art Gallery


    See our new art gallery provided by incarcerated individuals.

  • California State Prisoners Handbook

    CA Prisoners Handbook

    The California State Prisoners Handbook is a unique and valuable resource for prisoners, and their attorneys and advocates. The Handbook discusses in detail the laws governing prisoner rights and the policies and practices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The 1,100-page Fourth Edition (2008) also includes numerous sample forms and model pleadings. 2014 Supplement Now Available. How to order

  • Inside Books Project Resource Guide

    Inside Books Project

    Inside Books Project offers a Resource Guide with helpful resources targeted to inmates and their loved ones.  The entire IBP Resource Guide is included below both as a searchable online resource and as a downloadable PDF.

  • Proposition 47

    In November, 2014, the voters of California passed Proposition 47, which changes many property and drug-possession offenses to regular misdemeanors.  Learn more by seeing our Information re: Proposition 47.

  • Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook

    Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook

    The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a federal lawsuit addressing poor conditions in prison or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited general information about the American legal system. This Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, families, friends, activists, lawyers and others.