The Human Rights Defense Center advocates in furtherance of the human rights of people held in U.S. prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, civil commitment facilities, Bureau of Indian Affairs jails, juvenile facilities and military prisons. HRDC is the foremost advocate on behalf of the free speech rights of those who seek to communicate with prisoners and the right of prisoners to receive publications and other communications from people on the outside. HRDC's Prison Phone Justice project helped reduce the rates of
telephone calls made by prisoners in an effort to promote communication
between prisoners and those on the outside. HRDC's advocacy efforts also include publishing Prison Legal News (PLN), a
72 page black-and-white monthly journal that covers criminal justice-related news and
developments in prison litigation nationwide.
PLN also publishes and
distributes self-help reference books for prisoners, and engages in
media campaigns and outreach to both prisoners and to the
unincarcerated, public speaking and education, and testimony before
legislative and regulatory bodies.
In addition to publishing PLN, HRDC also litigates a significant number of FOIA cases on PLN's behalf in order to improve transparency and accountability in the administration of prisons and jails, including the administration of private, for-profit prisons and jails.