Advocacy

  • All of Us or None - All of Us or None is a national organizing initiative of prisoners and former prisoners to combat the many forms of discrimination that prisoners face upon release. They do not answer letters from prisoners, but rather are active in several local and national campaigns, including BAN THE BOX, a movement to end job discrimination based on felony convictions. 

  • Amnesty International - Amnesty International compiles information about prisoner torture, beatings, rape, etc. to include in reports about U.S. prison conditions; also works on death penalty issues.

  • California Coalition for Women Prisoners - CCWP is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women and communities of color by the prison industrial complex. CCWP also visits women prisoners in CA and produces a newsletter "The Fire Inside," free to women prisoners.

  • California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement - CFASC is dedicated to stopping the inhumane treatment of prisoners within the California penal system, especially those held in solitary confinement. Their ultimate goal is to end the use of solitary confinement, with short-term goals to reduce the use of solitary confinement and to insist on due process and fairness. CFASC supports the five core demands put forth by the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers.

  • California Prison Focus - CPF is a human rights and civil rights group that investigates conditions in the California SHUs (control/isolation units), organizes and advocates for prisoners' rights, and provides self-help legal materials including "Challenging Gang Validation" manual (see listing at the end of this directory). Write for publications list. 

  • Center for Constitutional Rights - CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change and dedicated to advancing and protecting rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is currently litigating the Ashker v Brown challenge to solitary confinement in CA. CCR co-publishes the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook with the National Lawyers Guild.

  • Center for Health Justice - CHJ serves prisoners in the Los Angeles County Jails and throughout California, and also provides a free national prisoner HIV prevention & treatment hotline service that accepts collect calls from inmates during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 8 to 3pm, Pacific Time). Their hotline provides general HIV treatment and prevention information, support for callers who are ill or newly diagnosed HIV+, and advocacy support regarding medical care, medications, or other health related issues inside the jails and prisons across the country. CHJ also provides the following publications for prisoners: HepC Inside and HIV Inside. Write for further information about their services or to obtain a copy of their publications.

  • Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants - CURE organizes prisoners, their families and other concerned citizens to achieve reforms in the criminal-justice system, and has a presence in 40 states. Write or check their website for complete listing or addresses of state chapters.

  • Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) National Office - A prisoner advocacy group with chapters in all 50 states. Write for contact info for the CURE chapter in your state.

  • Correctional Association of New York - Founded in 1844, the Correctional Association of New York (CA) is an independent non-profit organization that advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system and a more just and equitable society. CA has three working projects: the Women in Prison Project, the Prison Visiting Project, and the Juvenile Justice Project.

  • Critical Resistance - Critical Resistance (CR) seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes everyone safe. CR also publishes a newspaper three times a year entitled "The Abolitionist," which is free to prisoners.

  • Disability Rights Texas - Focus area/description: Advocacy for disabled people in county jails, but not prisons, within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system. 

  • Edwin Gould Services for Children - The IMP is a specially designed preventive program that addresses the unique needs of mothers parenting their children from prison in New York. The main goal of the IMP is to prevent foster care placement by assisting women and their children during and after the time of arrest; court; jail; and as they return to the community. IMP provides advocacy, foster care prevention, counseling, and vocational training, and also prison-based parenting groups to serve fathers.

  • Equal Justice Initiative - The Equal Justice Initiative provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. They litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.

  • Families Against Mandatory Minimums - FAMM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization fighting for fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety, and primarily advocates for state and federal sentencing reform.

  • Florida Justice Institute - The Florida Justice Institute (FJI) is a nonprofit public interest law firm that conducts civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of prisoners' rights, housing discrimination, disability discrimination, and other areas that impact the lives of Florida's poor and disenfranchised. This includes cases for persons currently or formerly incarcerated in a Florida prison or jail involving mistreatment while incarcerated, or involving the conditions of the facility. FJI does not accept criminal or post-conviction cases (meaning anything related to a criminal case, including criminal appeals, sentencing motions, Rule 3.850 or 3.800 motions, clemency petitions, and habeas corpus petitions).

  • Forever Family, Inc. - Forever Family is an advocacy group for incarcerated parents which provides helpful information for all parents in prison who have children, but can only provide social services in the Atlanta area.

  • Friends Committee on Legislation of California - Quaker founded group that advocates and lobbies for CA state laws that are just, compassionate, and respectful of the inherent worth of every person. They publish a free quarterly periodical, the FCLCA Newsletter, which keeps track of pending legislation.

  • Friends and Family of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children - FFLIC is a statewide membership-based organization that fights for a better life for all of Louisiana's youth, especially those involved in or targeted by the juvenile justice system. 

  • Friends Outside - Friends Outside provides services and support to visitors at each California State Prison. The primary purpose of the Visitor Centers is to remove barriers to visiting in order to encourage visits and thereby support family and community unification. Visitor Centers are located outside the prison walls, but on prison grounds, and usually adjacent to the visitor parking lots. Visitor Centers provide childcare, transportation, information and resources, and a restful and welcoming place to stop for a moment before and after visits. Write for further information.

  • Human Rights Coalition - HRC advocates for abolishment of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons. Publishes HRC Legal Pamphlet Series, other pamphlets and information letters, and the "PA Prison Directory Action Guide" (2009) (too many pages for them to print & mail, but available for download on their website).

  • Legal Aid Society Prisoner's Rights Project - The Prisoner's Rights Project (PRP) protects and enforces the legal rights of New York City and New York State prisoners through litigation, advice, and assistance to individual prisoners. PRP does not deal with prisoners' criminal cases or sentences or matters related to parole.

  • Legal Action Center (New York) - The Legal Action Center's mission is to assist New York state residents to fight discrimination against those with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas. Write for list of free publications.

  • Legal Services for Prisoners with Children - LSPC publishes manuals, reports, fact sheets and pamphlets for CA prisoners in the following areas: Family Matters (guardianship, visitation, pregnancy, domestic violence); Reentry Services; Prison Conditions (isolation and other). They also publish A Manual on SSI/SSDI for Prisoners and Their Advocates.

  • Mettanokit Outreach - Mettanokit is a non-profit learning center and service organization working for a more human society based on the old values of cooperation and equality and the closeness and caring found in our elder tribal societies. Part of their program is offering Native circles in prisons, with 10 of these circles currently in New England prisons. Description of these may be found in the book Ending Violent Crime. Descriptions of the Native American traditions that provide an understanding for much of this work may be found in the book Return to Creation. Write for further information and list of books for sale.

  • Middle Ground Prison Reform - Working for Arizona's prisoners and their families since 1983. Main areas of activity are: 1) public education about the need for criminal justice reform 2) legislative advocacy on behalf of prisoners and their visitors 3) litigation to protect and define the rights and responsibilities of prisoners and their supporters 4) referral to community resources for ex-offenders. Spanish-speaking volunteers available.

  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc. - NAACP Legal Defense Fund Is a non-profit law firm which deals only with cases of obvious race discrimination and affecting broad classes of people. They also handle a small number of capital defense and life without parole cases.

  • National Jericho Movement - National Jericho Movement is a political prisoner support group working to free all Political Prisoners.

  • National Lawyers Guild Prison Law Project - The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) helps publish the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook (see separate listing) on bringing civil rights claims alleging violation of constitutional rights in prison or jail. NLG does not provide lawyers or legal assistance, but does provide free membership for jailhouse lawyers.

  • Navajo Nation Corrections Project - A pioneer in the realm of prisoner advocacy, the Navajo Nation Corrections Project not only promotes Native inmates' dignity and recovery through access to culturally appropriate religious rites, but also wages a passionate defense of a basic human and civil right already guaranteed to non-Native inmates' free practice of their religions.

  • NJ Office of the Corrections Ombudsman - The Office of the Corrections Ombudsman provides a mechanism for the continuing resolution of issues, problems or complaints of state sentenced prisoners within New Jersey's Correctional System regarding their living conditions and treatment.

  • NYC Jericho Movement - Jericho is a movement with the defined goal of gaining recognition that political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside of the United States, despite the United States' government's continued denial. One of Jericho's current goals is to educate the public about political prisoners in US prisons, and to help win amnesty and freedom for these political prisoners.

  • The Osborne Association - The Osborne Association offers opportunities for individuals who have been in conflict with the law to transform their lives through innovative, effective, and replicable programs that serve the community by reducing crime and its human and economic costs. Services limited to New York prisoners and their families. Write for list of programs and services.

  • Partnership for Safety & Justice - Advocacy group focused on changing public safety policy in Oregon only. Publishes newsletter and Prisoner Support Directory for Oregon prisoners.

  • Pathfinders of Oregon - Pathfinders of Oregon has several successful programs in prisons and the community, including the Center for Family Success, Children's Justice Alliance, Parenting Inside Out, Pathfinder Academy, and Living in Freedom Today, an alternative to incarceration program. For Oregon prisoners only.

  • Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project - The Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (PILP) seeks to deliver civil legal services to the institutional population in Pennsylvania. PILP was created and designed to meet the needs of low income residents of Pennsylvania prisons, jails, hospitals, and state centers.  

  • Pennsylvania Prison Society - Does advocacy work, including prison visits and publishes "Graterfriends," a monthly newsletter for people in prison which is primarily inmate guided.

  • People's Law Office - Fights for justice for people who have been tortured or physically abused, wrongfully arrested or convicted, unfairly sentenced to death, or targeted as a result of their political beliefs or organizing efforts on behalf of movements struggling for justice and liberation.

  • Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts - Prisoners' Legal Services promotes the safe, humane and lawful treatment of Massachusetts prisoners through civil rights litigation, administrative advocacy, client counseling, and outreach to policy makers and the public. Prisoners' Legal Services Litigation Priority Areas are: Health Care, including mental health care; Staff Assaults; Extreme Conditions of Confinement; & Segregation.

  • Prisoners' Legal Services of New York - PLS provides free legal services to New York State prisoners. The decision to assist with any particular case depends on the issue or problem presented, the chance of success, the amount of time and resource necessary to properly assist, the office's resources, staff availability and caseload. Also publishes Pro Se newsletter six times per year for inmates in New York State prisons, providing information and analysis on recent developments in prison law. To subscribe, send a subscription request with prisoner's name, DIN number, and facility to Pro Se, 114 Prospect Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. Past issues of Pro Se from 2003-2013 are downloadable from their website.

  • Prison University Project - The mission of the Prison University Project is to provide excellent higher education programs to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison; to create a replicable model for such programs; and to stimulate public awareness and meaningful dialogue about higher education and criminal justice in California. The central goals of the College Program at San Quentin are to educate and challenge students intellectually; to prepare them to lead thoughtful and productive lives inside and outside of prison; to provide them with skills needed to obtain meaningful employment and economic stability post-release; and to prepare them to become providers, leaders, and examples for their families and communities.

  • Project AVARY - Project AVARY offers long-term support and enrichment for children and youth in the San Francisco Bay Area with a parent in prison or jail. Our program services include a summer camp, monthly outings, leadership training, and family support. Write for further details.

  • Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos - The Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos Prison Project is dedicated to providing cultural and spiritual education, support, and hope to incarcerated individuals. The Project advocates for prison policy reform and programs that reduce recidivism, support re-entry, and reunify families.

  • Sentencing and Justice Reform Advocacy (SJRA) Advocate - SJRA Advocate contains useful and timely information on California prisoner and prison issues. SJRA's goal is to publish truthful information to educate, motivate and inspire prisoners, families, the general public, lawyers, legislators and local lawmakers. Prisoners may obtain 12 issues of SJRA Advocate for $18; for all others the cost is $20. Prisoners may also pay with First Class stamps; 3 stamps for a single issue; 20 stamps for 6 issues; and 40 stamps for 12 issues.

  • The Sentencing Project - The Sentencing Project is a national policy research and advocacy organization that works for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration. They produce excellent reports on topics related to sentencing policy, racial disparities, drug policy, juvenile justice and voting rights. Write for list of available publications (fact sheets, policy briefs, annual reports, newsletters, brochures) or further information.

  • Solitary Watch - Solitary Watch works to expose and oppose the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails, and offers a free quarterly newsletter to prisoners. Solitary Watch also welcomes submissions of writing by those currently or formerly serving time in solitary.

  • Texas Civil Rights Project - The Prisoners' Rights Program works to improve conditions in Texas prisons and jails through litigation and advocacy. The Prisoners' Rights Program concentrates on cases that will have broad impact by changing a policy or creating other systemic relief.

  • Texas Jail Project - The Texas Jail Project seeks to improve the conditions for approximately 67,000 people'mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, and daughters'who are incarcerated in Texas county jails. 

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