Legal Support Resources
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) / Prisoner’s Assistance Directory
National Prison Project Publications, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004 / Tel: (212) 549-2500 / Website: www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/prisoners-assistance-directory-2008
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU offers the Prisoner’s Assistance Directory, which includes contact information, services, and descriptions for over 300 national, state, local, and international organizations that provide assistance to prisoners, ex-offenders, and families of prisoners. The Prisoner’s Assistance Directory also includes a bibliography of informative books, reports, manuals, and newsletters of interest to prisoners and their advocates. Copies are available for $30.00 prepaid. Journal, NPP’s biannual newsletter, features articles, reports, legal analysis, legislative news, and other developments in prisoners’ rights. An annual subscription is $30 ($2 for prisoners). For more information, please go to www.aclu.org.
- Centurion Ministries, Inc
221 Witherspoon St, Princeton NJ 08542-3215 / Website: www.centurionministries.org
Centurion Ministries (CM) is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. CM has a national network of attorneys and forensic experts who ably assist us in our work on behalf of the convicted innocent throughout the U.S. and Canada. The primary mission of CM is to vindicate and free from prison those who are completely innocent of the crimes for which they have been unjustly convicted and imprisoned for life or death. We also assist our clients, once they are freed, with reintegration into society on a self-reliant basis. CM has very narrow criteria for the types of cases that we will consider reviewing. Please review our stated criteria: (1) We only consider murder or rape cases within the U.S. as well as Canada that carry a life or death sentence. We do NOT consider self-defense or accidental death cases. We will only consider a rape case if there is the possibility of using DNA testing to clear the convicted person. We do NOT consider child sex cases unless the case has physical evidence that could be scientifically tested to prove innocence. (2) You must be absolutely 100% innocent of the crime and have had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with the crime. (3) You must be indigent and have largely exhausted your appeals. (4) We are NOT lawyers and, therefore, we do NOT offer legal assistance to those who petition us for help. We CANNOT make referrals to attorneys. If the inmate does fit ALL of our criteria, their initial letter to us should be brief, outlining the facts of the crime, and what led to their arrest for the crime. Inmates should NOT send briefs or transcripts of other materials! We just want to hear the facts in the inmate’s own words. We in turn will send them a letter that outlines exactly what information we want, and what they can expect from us in the way of assistance.
EDPUBS, PO Box 22207 Alexandria, VA 22304 / Tel: (877) 433-7827 / E-mail: edpubs [at] edpubs [dot] ed [dot] gov / Website: www.edpubs.gov
A national organization providing information and referral services. We specialize in human services and criminal justice. We link people with resources in their community such as drug or alcohol programs, educational programs (assistance with reading, writing and math), volunteer programs, employment assistance, temporary shelter and housing resources, counseling, and other services.
- Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
1612 K St. N.W. Suite 700, Washington DC 20006 / Tel: (202) 822-6700 / E-mail: famm [at] famm [dot] org / Website: www.famm.org
FAMM is a national nonprofit organization founded to challenge inflexible and excessive penalties required by mandatory sentencing laws. We promote sentencing policies that give judges the discretion to distinguish between defendants and sentence them according to their role in the offense, seriousness of the offense, and potential for rehabilitation. FAMM's 25,000 members include prisoners and their families, attorneys, judges, criminal justice experts, and concerned citizens. you may write for further information.
- Grassroots Investigation Project (GRIP)
Quixote Center, PO Box 5206, Hyattsville MD 20722 / Tel: (301) 699-0042 / E-mail: claudia [at] celldoor [dot] com / Website: www.lairdcarlson.com/grip
The mission of the Grassroots Investigation Project is to empower family members of death row inmates and anti-death penalty activists to create partnerships with lawyers, journalists, and academicians for the purpose of conducting low-cost investigations of death penalty cases that may reveal innocence and help to bring about a death penalty moratorium. Inmates may write for further information.
- Innocence Project
100 Fifth Ave., 3rd Floor New York, NY 10011 / Tel: (212) 364-5340 / E-mail: info [at] innocenceproject [dot] org / Website: www.innocenceproject.org
The Innocence Porject was set up as and remains a nonprofit legal clinic. This project only handles cases where post-conviction DNA testing of evidence can yield conclusive proof of innocence. As a clinic, students handle the casework while supervised by a team of attorneys and clinic staff. Most of our clients are poor, forgotten, and have used up all of their legal avenues for relief. The hope they all have is that biological evidence from their cases still exists and can be subjected to DNA testing. All Innocence Project clients go through an extensive screening process to determine whether or not DNA testing of evidence could prove their claims of innocence. Note: All case submissions and follow-up correspondence will be handled by mail or overnight delivery services only. To find an Innocence Project in your state, please go to: http://www.innocenceproject.org/about/Other-Projects.php
- Lewisburg Prison Project
PO Box 128, Lewisburg PA 17837 / Tel: (570) 523-1104 / E-mail: prisonproject [at] chilitech [dot] net / Website: http://www.lewisburgprisonproject.org/#
Lewisburg Prison Project educates prisoners as to their civil rights and distributes a variety of legal bulletins and publications, written in non-technical laymen's terms, at a minimal cost. We accept stamps and self-addressed stamped envelopes as payment. Write for a free list of materials offered.
- National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
7222 Ambassador Road Baltimore, MD 21244 / Tel: (410) 265-1490 / E-mail: aboring [at] ncianet [dot] org / Website: www.ncianet.org
It is the mission of NCIA to help create a society in which all persons who come into contact with the human service or correctional systems will be provided with an environment of individual care, concern and treatment. NCIA is dedicated to developing quality programs and professional services that advocate timely intervention and unconditional care. Our goal is to reduce the reliance on institutions in criminal justice proceedings by utilizing alternatives such as community service, addressing substance abuse problems, and by using a third party monitor. We offer pre-sentence investigative services, parole release reports, and we provide public information on criminal justice matters.
- National Lawyers Guild
132 Nassau Street, #922 New York NY 10038 / Tel: (212) 679-5100 / Website: www.nlg.org
The National Lawyers Guild is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We provide self-help law kits free of charge to assist inmates in representing themselves and their own cases or in assisting others. The self-help kits are written in an easy to use language that tells you how to file civil complains, how to deal with grievances, and most other legal matters that you would encounter in the course of being imprisoned.
- Prison Law Office
General Delivery, San Quentin CA 94964 / Tel: (415) 457-9144 / Website: www.prisonlaw.com
The Prison Law Office provides free legal services to California state prisoners (only), and occasionally to California state parolees. Our assistance is generally limited to cases regarding conditions of confinement. The office attempts to resolve such cases informally, if possible (by advocating to prison officials), or through formal litigation. We also offer numerous self-help law manuals free of charge.