Legal resources for people in prison in California

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of SoCal

1313 West Eighth St., #200

Los Angeles, CA 90017

(213) 977-5209

(213) 977-9543 (no collect calls please)

Serves: CA

Focus area/description: The ACLU of Southern California works to preserve and guarantee the protections of the Constitution's Bill of Rights. It aims to extend these freedoms to segments of our population who have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor.

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of SoCal confirmed this listing on June 15, 2015.

Root & Rebound

1730 Franklin St.

Suite 300

Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 891-1287 Fax

(510) 279-4662 Office

Serves: CA

Focus area/description: Root & Rebound’s mission is to increase access to justice and opportunity for people in reentry from prison and jail, and to educate and empower those who support them, fundamentally advancing and strengthening the reentry infrastructure across the state of California.

Through “Roadmap to Reentry” legal education, Root & Rebound supports the 50,000 Californians leaving prison and jail each year and the hundreds of thousands of people across the state who support them. Available in print and online, “Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide,” is an easy-to-use navigation tool covering the major barriers in reentry. In addition to creating and publishing the guide, Root & Rebound conducts community trainings across the state of California on how to use this resource. The trainings are intended for a wide audience, including people in reentry and those who support them: community service providers, advocates, educators, community supervision officers, and family and friends.

Visit Root & Rebound’s “Roadmap to Reentry” Interactive Hub to download electronic copies of the guide, request a hard-copy (free for people in reentry and their loved ones), ask the team a question, or request a training for your organization at

Starting in Summer 2015, Root & Rebound is launching a direct legal services program through which cohorts of people in reentry receive training, empowerment for self-advocacy, and legal services and support. Through the cohorts’ monthly meetings and attorney check-ins, cohort members receive free legal information, advice, referrals, and, where appropriate, representation along the continuum of reentry.

If you or someone you know would like to join a cohort and receive services, please call our office at (510) 279-4662 or email to sign up and learn more.

Root & Rebound also runs a Reentry Advice Hotline every Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that is open for anyone with reentry-related legal issues, questions, or concerns.

Root & Rebound confirmed this listing on June 26, 2015.

These national resources may also be of help to people in prison in California:

A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual--Columbia Human Rights Law Review

Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Attn: JLM Order

435 W. 116th St.

New York, NY 10027

(212) 854-1601

Serves: National,FL,LA,NY,TN,TX

Focus area/description: What is it?
A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual Tenth Edition (the "JLM Tenth Edition") explains the legal rights of prisoners, and how to navigate through the justice process to secure those rights. It contains information on how to address legal issues on both the federal level and the state level, with an emphasis on New York State law. The JLM does NOT have information on substantive law (for example, the elements of crimes or degrees of a crime). It is a softcover book that comes in one volume, with separate Immigration & Consular Access and Texas Supplements. The main volume is about 1288 pages, while the Immigration & Consular Access Supplement is about 116 pages and the Texas Supplement is 408 pages. Both books are mailed stamped "direct from publisher."

The main volume of the JLM contains "basic" self-help litigation information, covering legal research, seeking legal representation, choosing a court, and filing a lawsuit, as well as more specific chapters on habeas corpus, parole, DNA, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act. It also contains topics like religious freedom, infectious diseases, mental disabilities, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender prisoners. The Immigration & Consular Access Supplement contains information about the immigration law consequences of criminal convictions for people who are not U.S. citizens, and also contains information about your right as a non-U.S. citizen to access your country's consulate if you are charged with a crime. The Texas supplement contains information specific to prisoners navigating the justice process in Texas courts and institutions.

How much does it cost?*
A prior edition of the JLM is available online and can be downloaded for free:

For prisoners who wish to order a copy: The JLM Tenth Edition main volume is $30. The Immigration & Consular Access Supplement is $5. The Texas Supplement is $20. The books may be ordered together, or each book may be ordered separately. Priority shipping is included in both prices.

For non-inmates, organizations, or institutions that wish to order a copy: The JLM Tenth Edition is $105 for the main volume and $22 for the Immigration & Consular Access Supplement. Priority shipping is included in both prices. If you are ordering for a prisoner, follow the instructions for prisoner pricing. Prices and availability may be subject to change.

Note: Regrettably, the law prohibits us from providing any legal advice to prisoners. As an organization with limited funds, we cannot offer any further discounts nor make any billing arrangements other than listed above. We also do not have used copies to distribute. If you would like to use the JLM but are unable to purchase one, please inquire with your prison library to see if they will order one. We apologize for any inconvenience.

How do I place an order?
Complete and send the order form below with a check or money order, payable to Columbia Human Rights Law Review to:

Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Attn: JLM Order
435 W. 116th St.
New York, NY 10027

If you send a money order, keep the receipt in case there is a problem with your order. We do not accept postage stamps as payment and we also do not accept credit cards. Due to the nature of the institutional mail systems, we request that you allow up to eight weeks from the date of your order. Because our office is student-run, your order may not be processed as quickly over school breaks. Please inform us on this form of any restrictions on incoming mail that your facility may have (for example, no padded envelopes or first class mail only). Please print clearly and legibly!


ID NUMBER (If applicable):
ORDER (Please circle the price):* Standard shipping requires 4-6 weeks.
1st Class shipping 1-2 weeks. All prisoner orders are sent via 1st Class Mail

Main Volume 4th class mail Immigration 4th Class Mail Main. Vol. & Immigration Supplement 4th class mail Main Volume 1st class mail Immigration Supplement1st class mail Main. Vol. & Immigration Supplement 1st Class Mail
Prisoner not available not available not available $30 $5 $35
Institution $105 $22 $120 $105 $22 $127

A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual--Columbia Human Rights Law Review confirmed this listing on June 12, 2015.

Lewisburg Prison Project, Inc.

P.O. Box 128

Lewisburg, PA 17837-0128

(570) 523-1104 phone

Serves: National,PA

Focus area/description: The Lewisburg Prison Project (LPP) is a non-profit organization that assists prisoners who write LPP when they encounter treatment they perceive to be illegal or unfair. The Lewisburg Prison Project primarily assists inmates with issues that arise from their conditions of confinement. LPP writes to and visits inmates, and contacts prison authorities on behalf of inmates. The LPP also furnishes inmates with appropriate legal materials. As of 2013, the organization does not have an attorney on staff; therefore, the LPP is not able to give legal advice, file suits, or address criminal or post-conviction cases.

The Lewisburg Prison Project offers a range of low-cost legal bulletins ($1-3, prices subject to change) on specific topics concerning prisoners' rights and legal dictionaries for purchase. Inmates can write to the LPP to request a bulletin order form.

2013 Legal Bulletins include:
1.1 Civil Actions in Federal Court: How to select, file, and follow legal actions.
1.2 Legal Research: Guide to Legal Research.
1.3 Access to Records: How to get your records; privacy.
1.5 Federal Tort Claims Act
1.8 Injunctive Relief
First Amendment
2.1 Religious Rights in Prison
2.3 Speech, Visitation, Association
4.1 Rights of Pretrial Detainees
Due Process in Prison
6.1 Disciplinary Hearings
6.4 Urinalyis Drug Testing
"Cruel and Unusual Punishment": Eighth Amendment
7.1 Assaults and Beatings: Assaults by staff or inmates.
7.3 Conditions of Confinment: Heat, exercise, etc.
Medical Care
8.1 Medical Rights
8.2 Psychiactric and Disability Rights
8.3 Aids in Prison
Post Conviction
9.1 Post-Conviction Remedies
9.2 Detainers: Choices and Strategies
9.3 Pennsylvania Megan's Law: Overview of requirements
9.4 DNA Collection and Testing

The LPP also publishes "Prisoners’ Rights Handbook: A Guide to Correctional Law Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States & the Federal Courts of the Third Circuit," available at:

Lewisburg Prison Project, Inc. confirmed this listing on June 15, 2015.

Prison Law Project - Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook

National Lawyers Guild

132 Nassau Street, RM 922

New York, NY 10038

(212) 679-2811 fax

(212) 679-5100 phone

Serves: National

Focus area/description: This Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a Section 1983 lawsuit in federal court regarding poor conditions in prison and/or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limited information about legal research and the American legal system.

The Handbook is available for free online to anyone: prisoners, lawyers, families, friends, activists and others. To download it, go to: If requesting a Handbook by mail from the National Lawyers Guild, two dollars ($2) is requested, but not necessary, to help cover postage costs. Stamps are accepted.

If you are unable to download the Handbook and would like to receive a copy via mail, please write to:

National Lawyers Guild
132 Nassau Street, RM 922, New York, NY 10038


Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012

Please note it may take a several weeks to deliver the Handbook due to a shortage of staff and resources. It is usually much faster to download the Handbook from this site and print it yourself.

PLEASE NOTE: This organization does not have the resources to give legal advice or representation, and will not respond to mail regarding these issues. Please send only orders or comments about the JLH itself.

Prison Law Project - Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook confirmed this listing on July 02, 2015.

A challenge to our colleagues:

We built the internet's first always-up-to-date list of legal services for incarcerated people. Can you make a similar list for a different kind of resource?

Problem: There are too many outdated resource lists floating around.

Our Solution: Have one resource list that one organization checks each year.

Our Method: Inspired by the Cincinnati Books for Prisoners group, we made a list of every legal services organization on every resource list we could find. Then we send a letter by snail mail to each organization each year asking them to confirm/update their listing. If they respond, we include them on the site for the next 365 days. All the organization needs to do is to sign the form we send them and mail it back in the enclosed envelope. If they don't respond, we keep them on our mailing list and try again next year.

This way, any incarcerated person using the list can be assured that the organization they are writing to recently did exist and was responding to mail. And if an organization fails to respond for some reason (staff turnover, postal problems, the dog ate our letter, etc.) they get another chance next year.

It's a win for everyone. We've built a database for legal services. What list can your organization edit?

Tweet this page Follow @PrisonPolicy on Twitter Get our newsletter Donate Contact Us

Meet us

Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.


Not near you?
Invite us to your city, college or organization.