Legal resources for people in prison in District of Columbia
D.C. Prisoners' Project
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
11 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 319-1010 Fax
(202) 319-1000 General information, no collect calls
(202) 775-0323 Prisoner help line, collect calls accepted
Focus area/description: The mission of the D.C. Prisoners' Project is to advocate for the humane treatment and dignity of all persons convicted or charged —or formerly convicted— with a criminal offense under District of Columbia law, to assist their family members with prison-related issues, and to encourage progressive criminal justice reform.
The Project’s goals are a) to remedy deficiencies in medical and mental health services; b) to ensure that conditions of confinement are safe and humane, and to prevent acts of violence, sexual assault, and torture; c) to improve the chances for social reintegration of the thousands of D.C. residents returning to D.C. communities after serving a period of incarceration; and d) to support activities to reduce the prison population through advocating alternatives to imprisonment and supporting prevention initiatives.
Our two-member staff, with the support of dozens of volunteers and student interns, provides non-litigation advocacy on conditions of confinement issues to more than one thousand clients a year.
D.C. Prisoners' Project confirmed this listing on June 20, 2014.
These national resources may also be of help to people in prison in District of Columbia:
Equal Justice Initiative
122 Commerce Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 269-1806 fax
(334) 269-1803 phone
Focus area/description: EJI litigates 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. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment, and serves the state of Alabama and the Deep South in general, working nationally on selected issues. EJI also prepares reports, newsletters and manuals to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of criminal justice.
Equal Justice Initiative confirmed this listing on June 23, 2014.
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
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: www.jailhouselaw.org. 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 June 18, 2014.
Human Rights Defense Center
Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth, FL 33460
(561) 360-2523 phone
Focus area/description: The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) publishes Prison Legal News, a monthly magazine (for incarcerated people, $30/year; for others see website) that reports legal developments and news surrounding prisons and jails and prisoner rights. HRDC also publishes and distributes litigation manuals, law and self help books. HRDC also challenges prison and jail conditions via litigation, typically on free speech issues. For details contact: Prison Legal News, P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460, (561) 360-2523, www.prisonlegalnews.org www.humanrightsdefensecenter.org.
Human Rights Defense Center confirmed this listing on July 28, 2014.
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?