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Welcome to Prison Legal News!

Prison Legal News (PLN), a project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, is a 72-page monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and prison and jail-related civil litigation, with an emphasis on prisoners' rights. PLN has published continuously since 1990 and covers a wide range of topics that include prison labor, rape and sexual abuse, misconduct by prison and jail staff, prisoners' constitutional rights, racial and socioeconomic disparities in our criminal justice system, medical and mental health care for prisoners, disenfranchisement, rehabilitation and recidivism, prison privatization, prison and jail phone rates, women prisoners, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), prison censorship, the death penalty, HIV and hep C, solitary confinement and control units, and much more.

In 2013, PLN received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. 

This website includes all of PLN's articles published since 1990 plus thousands of other articles, case reports, publications and pleadings. 

To search PLN's articles and other content, click "Search Content" on the top menu bar. For recent news articles that mention PLN and the Human Rights Defense Center or quote PLN staff, click "In the News" (which also includes our press releases). For our litigation project, which tracks our First Amendment lawsuits, public records cases and other legal actions, click "Litigation."

PLN's monthly magazine is a subscription publication. We have thousands of subscribers nationwide, and around 65-70% are incarcerated. We also offer website subscriptions that provide full access to all content on our website (most of our news content is free, but a subscription is required to access some of our legal content). For subscription options and fees, please click on "Subscribe" on the menu bar.

PLN also distributes a number of criminal justice, legal and self-help books through our Book Store. Plus we do much more -- for a better understanding of everything we do, please review our Annual Reports (also available under the "About" tab).


     Recent PLN Articles

Widespread Corruption in L.A. County Jails Leads to Federal Investigation, Indictments

by David M. Reutter and Rod L. Bower

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy David “Lee” Baca faces up to six months in prison after pleading guilty on February 10, 2016 to charges that he lied to federal investigators in an attempt to cover up a conspiracy to thwart an ...

Wrongfully Convicted Members of “Beatrice Six” Entitled to Compensation Despite False Confessions; Eighth Circuit Reinstates Lawsuit

On July 18, 2014, the Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the right of two members of the infamous “Beatrice Six” to receive up to $500,000 each in compensation despite the fact that they had both falsely confessed to a brutal murder.

In this convoluted case with many players, Helen ...

Federal Jury Awards $950,000 to Prisoners Beaten at L.A. County Jail

As indicated by this month’s cover story, violence or the threat of violence has long been part of life for prisoners in Los Angeles County’s jail system. An incident that occurred in August 2008, however, demonstrated that the most significant threat of violence comes from correctional staff. Following ...

Exonerated Illinois Man Receives $7.6 Million Settlement

The City of Chicago paid $7,625,000 to settle a civil rights action brought by a former prisoner who was wrongfully convicted of rape and exonerated by DNA evidence.

Dean Cage was 27 years old when he was arrested for the November 1994 rape of a 15-year-old girl as ...

Settlement, Judgment End Postcard-only Policies at Two Kansas Jails

A settlement agreement was reached in a class-action lawsuit challenging a postcard-only mail policy at Kansas’ Wyandotte County Adult Detention Center (WCADC), while a federal district court awarded damages to a pro se prisoner challenging a similar policy at a jail in Johnson County.

The settlement involving WCADC provides that ...

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