Legal resources for people in prison in New Jersey

NJ Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson

P0 Box 855

Trenton, NJ 08625

1-555-555-5555 (Inmate only toll free number)

(609) 633-2596 (Main)

Serves: NJ

Focus area/description: The Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson acts as an independent set of eyes and ears for the public, opening up the otherwise closed world of prisons. The office works to identify and address problems at the individual and system levels to ensure that people housed in New Jersey prisons:
- Are safe,
- Have their medical and mental health needs addressed,
- Have reasonable access to their loved ones, and
- Are engaged in productive activities to prepare them to return to the community

The Ombudsperson office has authority under state law to investigate complaints, inspect prison facilities, and report concerns to the Governor, Legislature, and the public. The office has golden-key access to all state prison facilities, people in those facilities, and records. All communications with the Ombudsperson office are confidential and privileged.

NJ Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson confirmed this listing on July 05, 2024.

New Jersey Parents' Caucus

275 Route 10 East

Suite 220-414

Succasunna, NJ 07876


(973) 989-8870

Serves: NJ

Focus area/description: Providing education to parents, family members and youth on their rights and responsibilities and the advocacy skills needed to navigate child-serving systems.
Providing free legal advice and representation to parents and youth by a qualified attorney.
Supporting attorneys at trial.
Providing leadership opportunities to justice-involved youth through the NJ Youth Coalition.
Providing peer support programs for parents, family members and youth.
Increasing awareness through public testimonies and legislative advocacy.
Training juvenile justice professionals and providers.

New Jersey Parents' Caucus confirmed this listing on July 10, 2024.

These national self-help guides may be useful to people in prison in New Jersey:

The Jailhouse Lawyers Manual is a free guide to legal rights and procedures designed for people in prison. It contains nine sections designed to help incarcerated people learn about their rights, file lawsuits in both state and federal court, attack their conviction or sentence, and address the conditions of their imprisonment. It also contains information about the rights of incarcerated people related to health, safety, religious freedom, and more. We suggest accessing the online version of the manual and mailing the relevant chapters to your incarcerated loved one.

The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook is a free resource for people in prison who want to file a federal lawsuit addressing poor conditions in prison or abuse by prison staff. This guide will not help challenge convictions or sentences or provide guidance on actions in state courts. It also has 14 appendices that provide sample complaints, legal forms, and guidance on how to reach out to journalists, among other topics. You can download relevant chapters of the handbook and mail them to your incarcerated loved one or request to have a copy mailed to them.

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?

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