News & Events

  • California Resolves Long-running Lawsuit Over Youth Prisons

    February, 2016

    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.


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

    February, 2016

    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).


  • New Special Master Report in Division of Juvenile Justice Case

    January, 2016

    The Special Master in the Farrell v. Cate case released the Thirty-third Quarterly Report. Farrell is a lawsuit brought to remedy abysmal conditions in the DJJ, the state’s lock-up units for young offenders.


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

    December, 2015

    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.

  • European Prison Project Trip to Norway

    November, 2015

    In October, 2015, PLO staff partnered with the UCSF Criminal Justice Health Project to lead a delegation of corrections officials and criminal justice policymakers from Hawaii and North Dakota to visit correctional facilities in Norway, and to meet with European criminal justice experts.  photo gallery

    Full Story>

    Follow-up:North Dakota Judge Learns Valuable Lessons on Norway Trip

    Norway Article Docket Magazine_Page_1


    “The correctional system in Norway works. … As a Judge, I have the power to take away a person’s freedom. I have no right to take away their human dignity. For our benefit and security, we should remind those imprisoned of their potential and human dignity. We also need to remind ourselves that they are a part of the community.” Full article in “The Docket”.