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

News all news

  • Settlement Reached in Santa Clara County Jail Litigation

    SC Main Jail

    San Jose, CA — After three years of extensive negotiations, the Prison Law Office, Cooley LLP, and the County of Santa Clara, California, have reached a settlement of Chavez v. County of Santa Clara, a class action lawsuit that alleged that some conditions in the County’s jails were unconstitutional.


  • Civil Rights Groups Seek Emergency Court Intervention to Protect the Health and Safety of Immigrants Locked in Federal Prison

    VV ICE bus

    The Prison Law Office, ACLU, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, PLC filed a motion for preliminary injunction on Sept. 5, 2018, in Teneng v. Trump, a federal lawsuit challenging the conditions of confinement for immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a federal prison in Victorville, California. The motion seeks immediate relief from the court, including an order prohibiting ICE from transferring additional immigrants to the prison.


  • PLO, ACLU & Others File Suit Demanding Trump Administration Stop Incarcerating Immigrants in Federal Prisons

    ACLU-August 1, 2018

    LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union, Prison Law Office, and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center filed a lawsuit today against President Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating the constitutional rights of immigrants detained at FCI Victorville, a federal prison in Victorville, California.  Full Story

  • “Tender Justice” North Dakota’s New Prison Practice Inspired During 2015 EPP Tour of Norwegian Prisons


    Terry Pullins is on his second tour in the North Dakota prison system. He’s also done time in California. Since he never got farther than the fifth grade, the 40-year-old Pullins has spent nearly as much time behind bars as he did in school. But last December brought the most acute punishment he has ever suffered: Pullins lost his daughter in a car accident.

    Most inmates in most prisons endure that sort of grief alone. But Pullins is at the Missouri River Correctional Center near Bismarck, N.D. This is a prison designed as much as possible to imitate life on the outside. The warden and staff rallied around him. “Every day I needed help,” Pullins says. “Those two weeks were rough, but they were there for me. I don’t always feel like I’m in prison. I feel like I’m somewhere bettering myself.”  Full Story




  • Arizona Prison Officials Found in Contempt for Prison Health Care Failures


    On June 22, 2018, the federal court in Parsons v. Ryan issued a scathing order finding Arizona prison officials in contempt of court for the Arizona Department of Correction’s ongoing failure to provide basic health care to the approximately 34,000 people in its custody.  The court also ordered the appointment of independent experts after massive failure of medical care and in the monitoring of ADC’s health care contractor.


  • NDOC Continues To Apply Humane Practices Picked Up During PLO’s EPP Tour

    Fox News – 05/25/18,

    BISMARCk, N.D. – More than 80,000 inmates are placed in solitary confinement every year across the country.

    A study by New York University says solitary confinement is considered harmful to a prisoner’s mental health because it restricts meaningful social contact.http://

  • Alaska Looks to Norway For Better Practices In Their Prisons

    alaskan officials

    KTOO – March 23, 2018,

    A small group of Alaska corrections officers are spending more time getting to know inmates, with a goal of helping them reintegrate in society once they’re released. That’s one of several reforms Alaska officials are drawing from the example of Norway, in making changes to how prisons in the state operate.


  • PLO Reaches Settlement In Class Action Challenging San Bernardino County Jails


    San Bernardino, California (March 28, 2018) –A settlement has been reached in a class action case filed against San Bernardino County regarding the constitutionality of the conditions of confinement in the county jails. Under the settlement county officials have agreed to make improvements in certain areas of jail operations that affect the health and well-being of those who are incarcerated in the county’s jails.


    Follow-up:San Bernardino County settles class action lawsuit alleging jail inmate civil rights violations

    The Sun – March 28, 2018, 

    A Berkeley-based prisoner rights legal office announced Wednesday, March 28, it has settled its class action lawsuit against San Bernardino County and the Sheriff’s Department alleging inmate civil rights violations at county jails.


    Follow-up:Class action jail lawsuit settled as Sheriff’s Department vows series of changes

    Daily Press – 03/28/2018,

    The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit over the conditions of the county’s jails, officials said Wednesday.

  • Arizona News Outlets Spotlight Recent Parsons v. Ryan Court Hearings

    AZ News pic

    NPR – March 2, 2018,  Arizona Prisons Face Federal Sanctions Over Prisoners’ Health Care

    KJZZ 91.5 – March 1, 2018, Mortality Reviews Show Arizona Blames Corizon Health For Inmate Deaths.

    Arizona Daily Sun – February 27, 2018, – Former prison doctor criticizes Department of Correction Medical Delivery System.

    azcentral.  – February 27, 2018,  – Did Arizona’s inmate-care provider deny care to avoid fines? Judge hears testimony in case

    KJZZ 91.5 – February 27, 2018,  – Former prison doctor makes stunning allegations.

    Marshall Project – February 26, 2018,  – A federal judge considers $1 million in fines for one state’s “pervasive and intractable failures.”


  • Federal Judge Calls Hearing After KJZZ Report on Health Care Delivery In AZ Prisons

    KJZZ, December 20 – Waving his iPad and pointing to a KJZZ story on prison health care, Magistrate Judge David Duncan furiously addressed the courtroom at a Parsons v. Ryan status hearing in federal court Wednesday morning.

Resources all resources

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

    Prop 57

    Recently adopted CDCR rules that grant many people additional good conduct and programming credits and allow some people serving terms for nonviolent crimes to be considered for earlier parole. Updated to include new emergency rules effective January 2019 that allow earlier parole consideration for some people serving three-strikes terms for non-violent offenses; the revisions are to be made public and take effect on an emergency basis in early January 2019. The text of the regulations and additional information are 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.

  • Youth Offender Parole Guide (SB 260/SB 261/SB 394/AB 1308)

    freedom youth ini

    This Youth Offender Parole Guide provides detailed information about the laws that allow many prisoners to seek early parole for crimes they committed prior to age 26.

  • Disability Rights California Celebrates 4 Decades of Civil Rights Advancement

    Disability Rights California investigates conditions in jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers and other facilities that detain people. We started this project in 2015 because we have significant concerns about how people with disabilities are treated behind bars and out of the public’s view. For example, people with mental health conditions often end up in solitary confinement for long periods, causing enormous harm to their mental and physical well-being.

  • 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 currently being revised.  We anticipate it will be ready for print in September 2018.  Much of the information has changed and we are no longer sending out the 2008 version or the 2014 supplement.  Please check back in October 2018 for ordering details.

  • 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.