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

News all news

  • ABA Journal Report on PLO’s Annual European Prison Project Tour


    ABA Journal October 2017 –  Attorney Donald Specter spent more than three decades working to protect the rights of incarcerated people before he finally saw a prison he believed in.

  • Corizon’s Debt To Gilbert Hospital Affects AZ Prisoner’s Access to Care

    91.5 KJZZ –  Emails show Corizon Health owed more than $1.2 million for more than a year to Gilbert Hospital. The late payment could be affecting prisoners’ access to care.


  • Arizona And ADOC Could Be Fined Thousands For Consistently Failing to Provide Court Ordered Levels Of Medical Care

    Prisoner Class

    June 26, 2017 –   Because of the Arizona Department of Corrections’ continuing failure to meet standards for physical and mental healthcare for prisoners, a federal judge recently ruled that the state faces a $1,000 fine for each prisoner who does not receive care that meets certain benchmarks at some prisons.

    “I have just had enough,” said U.S. Magistrate Judge David K. Duncan in a June 14, 2017, hearing where he proclaimed the potential for fines.

  • Phoenix News: People Housed In Tents Endure Suffocating Heat At Florence Prison Complex


    June 30, 2017 – “It was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen inside a prison, and I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve never been to refugee camps in Africa, but I imagine this is what it’s like.”

  • Mother Jones Reports on PLO’s European Prison Project

    Can Norway-Style Prisons work in America?  That’s what North Dakota is trying to figure out.


    More European Prison Project Info

  • 4 Suicides In 3 Weeks Inside Arizona Prisons


    Arizona 12 News Reports – Four inmate suicides in three weeks within the state prison system is leaving many unanswered questions. Is there a suicide epidemic?

  • Alaska Public Media: Press Conference At Fairbanks Correctional Center With PLO Executive Director

     May 11, 2017 – During a Tuesday (May 9) press conference outside Fairbanks Correctional Center, Prison Law office Executive Director Donald Specter described Norway’s approach.

    ”In Norway, people who are incarcerated are seen as members of the community, so they’re not forgotten about when they come into a facility,” Specter said. “They’re immediate goal is to try to get them out in a productive way. Norwegian prison systems have a saying, that they want to produce a better neighbor.”

  • KTVF: Inside Fairbanks Correctional Center with PLO Exec. Director


    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Fairbanks Correctional Center will be seeing some changes in the near future.

    The facility will be implementing different aspects of the Norwegian prison system.

    Today, staff members were able to share the different programs they offer to inmates, and what changes have already been put in place.

    Executive Director at Prison Law Office, Donald Specter, will be helping to fund these implementations. This includes a trip to Norway to see firsthand what living is like for prisoners.


  • PLO Selects Alaskan Officials For Next European Prison Project Tour


    May 10, 2017 – This fall, Alaska officials will travel to Norway to learn how the country’s corrections system has been successful in keeping offenders from committing new crimes.

    The trip is sponsored by the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm focused on improving prison conditions in the United States.

  • USA Today Story – PLO’s “European Prison Project” Has Positive Impact In U.S. Facilities

    March 31, 2017 – USA Today highlights the positive influence PLO sponsored “European Prison Project” has on participants.  States like North Dakota have already implemented a few Norwegian practices, as a result those facilities have seen a decrease in violence.

Resources all resources

  • Proposition 57: CDCR’s New Credit and Early Parole Regulations

    Prop 57

    CDCR has announced new rules that will grant many prisoners additional good conduct and programming credits and allow some nonviolent prisoners serving determinate sentences to be considered for early parole. The rules are in effect on an emergency basis while the CDCR undergoes a formal rule-making process to enact the rules on a permanent basis. More information about the regulations and how to submit public comments are in this Proposition 57 information letter (updated 7/19/2017). The text of the regulations and additional information is available on the CDCR website.

  • 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.

  • Transgender Booklet

    stop abuse


  • 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.