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Legal resources for people in prison in Vermont

Disability Rights Vermont

141 Main St, Suite 7

Montpelier, VT 05602

800-834-7890 ((toll free))

802-229-1355 (local)

Serves: VT

Focus area/description: A statewide agency dedicated to advancing the rights of people with mental health and disabilities issues. Supports human and civil rights by investigating complaints of abuse and neglect and violations of the individual rights of incarcerated people.

Disability Rights Vermont confirmed this listing on July 03, 2023.

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Vermont

P.O. Box 277

Montpelier, VT 05601

(802) 223-6304

Serves: VT

Focus area/description: The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont is dedicated to the defense of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as the Vermont Constitution. The ACLU of Vermont is generally not a resource for handling individual convictions or problems, unless related to constitutional rights violations. The national ACLU operates a number of specific projects, including the National Prison Project and the Criminal Law Reform Project. The ACLU of Vermont is able to look at complaints from prisoners in Vermont only.

To Request assistance, fill out and mail in the online complaint form at or write directly to the ACLU. You can also call the ACLU and leave a message with your address if you would like a complaint form mailed to you.

Each complaint is reviewed by staff to see whether it constitutes a civil liberties problem with which the ACLU-VT may be able to help. If the ACLU of Vermont is able to offer you assistance, the ACLU will contact you to gather more information about your situation. Because of its small size and large volume of complaints it receives, the ACLU of Vermont is not able to respond to every request.

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Vermont confirmed this listing on July 13, 2023.

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

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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