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

News all news

  • Some American Prisons Say “I Did It Norway! ” Equals Victory For PLO’s European Prison Project

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    The Marshall Project-October 31, 2017,                                                            In August, when the solar eclipse passed over South Boise Women’s Correctional Center in Idaho, the officers held lunch early, handed out protective sunglasses, and invited the women outside to watch the sky. At the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Connecticut, a few prisoners and officers recently played cards together; the warden seemed a little stunned when describing the scene. John Wetzel, who runs the prison system in Pennsylvania, has noticed a shift in tone at annual gatherings of his peers. “We talk more now about the humanity of inmates, and the impact of harsh environments on both staff and inmates,” he said.  The influence: Europe

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  • PLO ANNOUNCEMENT: New Immigration Detention Project

    The Prison Law Office is starting a new project to investigate and litigate conditions in California Immigration Detention Centers.   The following five positions have been created to staff the project.

    (1) Senior Staff Attorney

    (2) Staff Attorney

    (2) Investigators

  • North Dakota Still Focused On Reform Two Years After Visiting Norwegian Prisons With PLO

    Bismark Tribune – October 14, 2017In a Bismarck classroom last month, students learned the Pythagorean theorem.

    They took notes and asked questions as their teacher explained how to calculate the hypotenuse of right triangle. It was fairly normal, except the students and teacher wore the same outfit — jeans and a white T-shirt — and none of them will be allowed to leave school property for several months or years.

    The classroom is inside the North Dakota State Penitentiary. The man teaching that day is serving a 30-year sentence.

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

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    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.

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

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    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

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    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

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    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.”

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

    US-EUR CIP

    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)

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    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. 

  • Transgender Booklet

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    COMMON ISSUES FACING TRANSGENDER PRISONERS:  THE LAW AND SELF-ADVOCACY – (December 2016)

  • Art Gallery

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    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.