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Sources of Legal Support

APPENDIX I: Sources of Legal Support

Below is a short list of other organizations working on prison issues, mainly with a legal focus. When writing to these groups, please remember a few things:


  • Write simply and specifically, but don’t try and write like you think a lawyer would. Be direct in explaining yourself and what you are looking for.

  • Do not send any legal documents unless they are requested. If or when you do send legal documents, only send copies. Hold on to your original paperwork.

  • Because of laws like the PLRA and limited funding, many organizations are small, have limited resources and volunteer staff. It may take some time for them to answer your letters. But always keep writing

NOTE: The contact information for these resources is current as of the printing of this Handbook in 2021.


Do not send money for publications unless you have verified the address of the organization first.

American Civil Liberties Union National Office

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004

The biggest civil liberties organization in the country. They have a National Prison Project and a Reproductive Freedom Project, which might be helpful to women prisoners. Write them for information about individual chapters.
American Friends Service Committee Criminal Justice Program – National

15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003

Human and civil rights issues, research/analysis, women prisoners, prisoner support.
Black and Pink
is a national prison abolitionist organization founded to 2005 that is dedicated to abolishing the criminal punishment system and liberating LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system through advocacy, support, and organizing. Black and Pink has 13 volunteer-led chapters and more than 20,000 current and formerly incarcerated LGBTQIAS2+ and people living with HIV/AIDS members nationwide. Write to Black & Pink, 2406 Fowler Ave Suite 316, Omaha, NE 68111, or have a friend or family member email [email protected].
California Prison Focus

4408 Market Street, Suite A, Oakland, CA 94608

Publishes a quarterly magazine, Prison Focus, and other publications. Focuses organizing efforts on CA and on SHU conditions.



Center for Constitutional Rights

666 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10012

Legal organization that brings impact cases around prison conditions, co-publisher of this handbook.


Criminal Justice Policy Coalition

549 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Involved in policy work around numerous prison issues.


Critical Resistance, National Office

1904 Franklin St., Suite 504, Oakland, CA 94612

Uniting people in prison, former prisoners, and family members to lead a movement to abolish prisons, policing, surveillance, and other forms of control.


Freedom Overground

LGBTQI people in Georgia only. Freedom Overground’s mission is to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of the trans community during and after incarceration. We are currently serving the Georgia prison population but are hoping to create a benchmark for national change. Our initiatives and programs ensure that the medical and therapeutic needs of trans incarcerated people are met by state facilities. For more info, have someone on the outside email: [email protected].


Immigration Equality, Inc.

LGBTQI immigrants only. Provides several resource pamphlets. Write to: 40 Exchange Place, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10005


Innocence Project.

Takes only post-conviction, DNA cases. Does not take cases in CA, AZ, IL, MI, or OH. If you write them, briefly answer these questions in your letter:

  • The basic facts of the crime.
  • What happened?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • What were you accused of doing?
  • Where were you at the time of the crime(s)?
  • What were you doing?
  • Do you know the victim(s)?
  • If so, how do you know the victim(s)?
  • What did the victim(s) say happened?
  • Are you claiming innocence of all the charges/convictions?

Write to: Innocence Project, Intake Department, 40 Worth St., Suite 701, New York, NY 10013.


Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

LGBTQI only. A national civil rights organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV, including incarcerated LGBTQ+ people, through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Write to: Lambda Legal, 120 Wall Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10005-3919.


Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102

Legal resources and issues around women in prison, including guides and manuals for people in prison with children.


The National Center for Lesbian Rights

LGBTQI only. A national legal organization committed to protecting and advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including LGBT individuals in prison, through impact litigation, public policy advocacy, public education, direct legal services, and collaboration with other civil rights organizations. Write to: The National Center for Lesbian Rights, 870 Market Street Suite 370, San Francisco CA 94102.



National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

990 Spring Garden Street, Suite 703 Philadelphia PA 19123.
 Legal and other assistance for battered women.


National Lawyers Guild, National Office

PO Box 1266, New York, NY 10009

Membership organization of progressive lawyers. Co-publisher of this Handbook. Will only respond to membership and JLH requests. Cannot provide individual legal assistance - do not send any legal documents.


National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated at Rutgers-Camden

405-7 Cooper St., Room 103, Camden, NJ 08102

For over three decades, the NRCCFI has served as a resource for those working with families impacted by incarcerated.


North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services

Offers legal services, legal forms that you can fill out yourself, and other free legal resources. Write to: North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc., P.O. Box 25397, Raleigh, NC 27611.



Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center

123 William Street 16th Floor, New York, NY, 10038


Legal services project focusing on the legal needs of the thousands of homeless and street-involved young people in New York City, with a focus on the particular needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth. (only for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth age 24 or under)

Prison Activist Resource Center

PO Box 70447, Oakland, CA 94612

Clearinghouse for information and resources on organizing for prisoners’ rights, prison issues, anti-racism. Produce a free directory / resource packet for people in prison.


Prison Law Office - San Quentin

General Delivery, San Quentin CA 94964

Legal services and resources in California for individual prisoners and class actions. Publishers of The California State Prisoners Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Prison and Parole Law.


Prisoner Self Help Legal Clinic

Very good self-help legal kits on a variety of issues, available only electronically at


Southern Center for Human Rights

60 Walton St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty, challenges human rights violations in prisons and jails. Legal resources are available.


Southern Poverty Law Center

400 Washington Ave., Montgomery AL 36104

Legal resources and publications, including Prisoner Diabetes Handbook and Protecting Your Health and Safety: Prisoners’ Rights. Also files class-action suits around prison conditions. 


Sylvia Rivera Law Project

LGBTQI only. The project provides basic templates for name changes, identity documents, and other legal matters. You can also request to join their Prisoner Pen Pal Postcard Project, participate in their Prisoner Advisory Committee, or receive their newsletter written by and for LGBTQ people who are incarcerated. Their address is 147 West 24th Street, 5th Fl., New York, NY 10011


TGI Justice Project

Re-entry and support work. (only for transgender, gender variant, and intersex people) 370 Turk St #370, San Francisco, CA 94102


Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois

LGBTQI only. Distributes resources and connects people to their peers, friends, family, allies, advocates, and the larger prison abolition movement.

203 N. Lasalle, Suite 2100 | Chicago, IL 60601


The Transgender Law Center (“TLC”)

Trans people only is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation. Write to: Transgender Law Center PO Box 70976, Oakland, CA 94612-0976, or call 510.380.8229 (toll-free).


TRANScending Barriers Atlanta

LGBTQI only. TRANScending Barriers is a trans-led grassroots 501c3 non-profit organization that serves the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Georgia and provides support for trans* prisoners transitioning back from life in prison after their release. You can write to Transcending Barriers at 1755 The Exchange Suite 160, Atlanta, Georgia 30339, or via email at [email protected]