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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 17 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation. Any gift you can make today will be matched by other donors and go twice as far.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Legal resources for people in prison in New York

Prisoners' Legal Services of New York

41 State Street, Suite M112

Albany, NY 12207


(518) 445-6050 fax

(518) 445-6053 phone

Serves: NY

Focus area/description: Prisoners' Legal Services of New York (PLS) provides free civil legal services to indigent New York state prisoners on issues associated with their conditions of confinement. The decision to assist with any particular case depends on the issue or problem presented, the chance of success, the amount of time and resources necessary to properly assist, the office's resources, staff availability and caseload. PLS is also happy to provide self-help and informational materials to prisoners. If you or a family member have an issue that you believe PLS can assist you with, please feel free to contact their office by mail.
Prisoners' Legal Services regional offices are:

41 State St., Suite M112
Albany NY 12207
518-438-8046 (phone) (518)438-6643 (fax)

114 Prospect St.
Ithaca NY 14850
607-273-2283 (phone) 607-272-9122 (fax)

24 Margaret St., Suite 9
Plattsburgh NY 21901
518-561-3088 (phone), 518-561-3262 (fax)

14 Lafayette Square, Suite 510
Buffalo NY 14203
716-854-1007 (phone) 716-854-1008 (fax)

Prisoners' Legal Services of New York confirmed this listing on April 06, 2018.

Legal Aid Society, Prisoners' Rights Project

199 Water Street, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10038


(212) 509-8433 fax

(212) 577-3530 phone

Serves: NY

Focus area/description: Advocates for constitutional and humane conditions of confinement for prisoners in the New York City and State correctional systems, with an almost exclusive focus on class action litigation.

Legal Aid Society, Prisoners' Rights Project confirmed this listing on April 17, 2018.

Disability Rights New York

725 Broadway

Suite 450

Albany, NY 12207


(518) 432-7861

(800) 993-8982 Toll free

(518) 512-3448 TTY

Serves: NY

Focus area/description: DRNY is the Protection and Advocacy System for New York State. DRNY provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities, including to individuals in state prisons and local jails. DRNY works to challenge systemic abuse, neglect, discrimination, and civil rights violations through legal case handling, individual and systemic reform litigation, monitoring of facilities, investigations, and advocacy work. Assistance is limited to disability-related matters within agency resources.

Disability Rights New York confirmed this listing on May 21, 2018.

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

Prison Law Project - Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook

National Lawyers Guild

132 Nassau Street, RM 922

New York, NY 10038


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 to anyone: prisoners, lawyers, families, friends, activists and others. To download it, go to: www.jailhouselaw.org.

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 at least 8 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 April 27, 2018.

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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