Protecting the constitutional rights of people behind bars through
advocacy, education and litigation.

News all news

  • 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.

  • Bill to Prohibit Jails From Eliminating In-Person Visits Passes Hurdle

    The Senate Public Safety Committee has approved a  bill that would prohibit California jails from eliminating in-person visitation rights.


  • Attorneys For Arizona Prisoners Ask Federal Court to Enforce Year Old Settlement


    On April 11, 2016, the Prison Law Office and the ACLU National Prison Project filed in federal court in Arizona a motion to enforce the year-old settlement between the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) and prisoners in the case of Parsons v. Ryan.  The motion seeks an order requiring ADC to hire more healthcare staff to prevent further injury and death.


  • Alameda County Halts Juvenile Probation Fees

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


  • Prisoners Sue San Bernardino County Jail

    Prisoners in the San Bernardino County Jail have filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging unconstitutional conditions, including failure to provide basic medical and mental health care, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, and protection from violence by other prisoners


  • 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.


  • Setback for Brown’s Crime Reform Initiative

    On February 24, 2016, a superior court judge blocked the initiative, ruling it was improperly filed.  This means that signatures required to put the initiative on the November ballot cannot be collected. Supporters of the initiative are expected to appeal the ruling.  Even if the appeal is successful, it is not known if the required signatures will be collected to put the initiative on the ballot, or, even if that is done, whether a majority of the voters will approve it at the November 2016 election. The Initiative will not take effect unless and until it overcomes all of these hurdles.  Full Story

    Follow-up:Temporary Repreive Granted by Supreme Court

    Gov. Jerry Brown was allowed to move ahead with his ballot initiative to make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole, after the California Supreme Court late Friday temporarily stayed a lower court’s ruling blocking the measure.  Full Story



  • Leaking and Mold Discovered at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF)


    Leaking and mold are not new to SATF.  But, recent heavy rains have made problems there much worse.  People incarcerated at the prison report that leaking is so bad that during rains they slip and fall in puddles that form inside the housing units, they sleep in soaking wet beds, and eat in dining halls where moldy, rain-soaked ceiling tiles fall in to their food.  The Prison Law Office recently brought their stories and documentation of the problem to the attention of the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).


  • PA Corrections Sec’y Wetzel Inspired by Trip to German and Dutch Prisons

    The transitional housing units created by Secretary John Wetzel in Pennsylvania were inspired by a Prison Law Office sponsored trip to German and Dutch prisons.  Prisoners sleep in real beds, can dress as they like, cook their own meals, are never locked in solitary for more than eight hours, and get paid real wages for their work so they have some savings when they’re released. German recidivism rate after three years is still 35 percent. But the U.S. recidivism rate, despite our much harsher treatment – is almost twice that.  Full Story.

  • Santa Clara County Sued for Unconstitutional use of Solitary Confinement

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    Two people incarcerated in the Santa Clara county jail filed a federal class action lawsuit against Santa Clara County claiming that the use of solitary confinement and other conditions is inhumane and unconstitutional.


Resources all resources

  • 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.

  • Policy and CA Legislation Gallery

    Visit our Policy & CA Legislation to see what issues we support or oppose.

  • Governor Brown’s Criminal Justice Reform Proposition

    In late January 2016, Governor Brown announced a criminal just reform initiative.  The measure is called “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016”.  The initiative, if passed could affect thousands of prisoners.

  • 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.