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 July 22, 2013.
These national resources may also be of help to people in prison in District of Columbia:
Lewisburg Prison Project, Inc.
P.O. Box 128
Lewisburg, PA 17837-0128
(570) 523-1104 phone
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
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.
8.1 Medical Rights
8.2 Psychiactric and Disability Rights
8.3 Aids in Prison
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: http://www.lewisburgprisonproject.org/prisoners_rights_handbook_2009.pdf
Lewisburg Prison Project, Inc. confirmed this listing on July 15, 2013.
The ACLU National Prison Project
915 15th St., NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 393-4930 phone
Focus area/description: The NPP provides publications on prisoners’ rights, prisoner assistance organizations, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The NPP does not do advocacy for individual prisoners and does not assist individual prisoners with criminal cases. Please do not send any court documents or documents you need returned. Note that wait times for information or publications requested via mail may be very long due to the volume of prisoner correspondence.
The ACLU National Prison Project confirmed this listing on July 31, 2013.
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 August 02, 2013.
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?