Protecting the constitutional rights of people behind bars through
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  • PLO and Partners Demand Humane Conditions at Oklahoma’s Death Row

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    OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorneys from the ACLU of Oklahoma,? Prison Law Office, ACLU National Prison Project, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, and Sidley Austin, LLP, sent a demand letter on July 29, 2019 to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections calling on the department to address the inhumane treatment of people condemned to death at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, OK.

    The H-Unit is an underground bunker at the maximum-security prison facility, where people sentenced to death are incarcerated indefinitely in solitary confinement and restricted to their concrete tombs, no bigger than a parking space, for 22 to 24 hours per day. Underground, with no outside exposure or human contact, one prisoner made the comparison of the environment to being buried alive.

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  • Settlement Reached in Class Action Challenging Conditions in Sacramento County Jail

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    On June 20, 2019, on behalf of the nearly 4,000 people incarcerated in Sacramento County’s jails, the Prison Law Office, Disability Rights California, and Cooley LLP reached a proposed settlement with the County to address the dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the jails.

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  • LA Supervisors Vote to Phase Out Pepper Spray in Juvenile Facilities

    In the wake of a scathing report by the Los Angeles Inspector General regarding the rampant misuse of pepper spray against incarcerated children, the Prison Law Office joined dozens of juvenile justice and civil rights organizations to urge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to phase out the use of pepper spray in all juvenile facilities.? The measure passed unanimously on February 19, 2019.

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  • PLO Seeks Justice for People Subjected to Sacramento County’s Unconstitutional Use of Solitary Confinement

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    On February 12, 2019, attorneys for people housed in Sacramento County Jails, filed a motion to challenge the? unconstitutional use of solitary confinement for people with serious mental illness and the ongoing lack of access to mental health care.

    “This harm is too serious and too urgent to wait for the normal course of business,” said Margot Mendelson, an attorney with the Prison Law Office, in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

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  • Settlement Reached in Santa Clara County Jail Litigation

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    San Jose, CA — After three years of extensive negotiations, the Prison Law Office, Cooley LLP, and the County of Santa Clara, California, have reached a settlement?of?Chavez v. County of Santa Clara,?a class action lawsuit that alleged that some conditions in the County’s jails were unconstitutional.

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  • Civil Rights Groups Seek Emergency Court Intervention to Protect the Health and Safety of Immigrants Locked in Federal Prison

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    The Prison Law Office, ACLU, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and the law firm of Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson, PLC filed a motion for preliminary injunction on Sept. 5, 2018, in Teneng v. Trump, a federal lawsuit challenging the conditions of confinement for immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a federal prison in Victorville, California. The motion seeks immediate relief from the court, including an order prohibiting ICE from transferring additional immigrants to the prison.

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  • PLO, ACLU & Others File Suit Demanding Trump Administration Stop Incarcerating Immigrants in Federal Prisons

    ACLU-August 1, 2018

    LOS ANGELES — The American Civil Liberties Union, Prison Law Office, and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center filed a lawsuit today against President Trump and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for violating the constitutional rights of immigrants detained at FCI Victorville, a federal prison in Victorville, California.? Full Story

  • “Tender Justice” North Dakota’s New Prison Practice Inspired During 2015 EPP Tour of Norwegian Prisons

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    Terry Pullins is on his second tour in the North Dakota prison system. He’s also done time in California. Since he never got farther than the fifth grade, the 40-year-old Pullins has spent nearly as much time behind bars as he did in school. But last December brought the most acute punishment he has ever suffered: Pullins lost his daughter in a car accident.

    Most inmates in most prisons endure that sort of grief alone. But Pullins is at the Missouri River Correctional Center near Bismarck, N.D. This is a prison designed as much as possible to imitate life on the outside. The warden and staff rallied around him. “Every day I needed help,” Pullins says. “Those two weeks were rough, but they were there for me. I don’t always feel like I’m in prison. I feel like I’m somewhere bettering myself.”? Full Story

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  • Arizona Prison Officials Found in Contempt for Prison Health Care Failures

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    On June 22, 2018, the federal court in Parsons v. Ryan issued a scathing order finding Arizona prison officials in contempt of court for the Arizona Department of Correction’s ongoing failure to provide basic health care to the approximately 34,000 people in its custody.? The court also?ordered the appointment of independent experts after massive failure of medical care and in the monitoring of ADC’s health care contractor.

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  • NDOC Continues To Apply Humane Practices Picked Up During PLO’s EPP Tour

    Fox News – 05/25/18,


    BISMARCk, N.D. – More than 80,000 inmates are placed in solitary confinement every year across the country.

    A study by New York University says solitary confinement is considered harmful to a prisoner’s mental health because it restricts meaningful social contact.

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