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Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook

Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook

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Published by Junior Sanchez-Lion
How to bring a federal lawsuit to challenge violations of your rights in prison.
How to bring a federal lawsuit to challenge violations of your rights in prison.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Junior Sanchez-Lion on May 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/09/2013

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The
Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook 
How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison 
Published by the 
Center for Constitutional Rights
and the 
National Lawyers Guild 
 
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS
This Handbook is a resource for prisoners who wish to file a Section 1983 lawsuit in federalcourt regarding poor conditions in prison and / or abuse by prison staff. It also contains limitedinformation about legal research and the American legal system. The Handbook is available for free to anyone: prisoners, lawyers, families, friends, activists and others.We hope that you find this Handbook helpful, and that it provides some aid in protecting your rights behind bars. As you work your way through a legal system that is often frustrating andunfair, know that you are not alone in your struggle for justice.
Good luck!
 In struggle,
Ian Head Rachel Meeropo
l
THE
 
JAILHOUSE LAWYER’S HANDBOOK 
 
How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison
PUBLISHED BY THE
CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
 AND THE
NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD
4
th
Edition, Revised in 2003.
Formerly known as the
 Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual 
, published by the National Lawyers Guild.Original version by Brian Glick and the Prison Law Collective, 1974
The Handbook is available on the internet at www.jailhouselaw.org.
 
JAILHOUSE LAWYER’S HANDBOOK 
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................1
A. WHAT IS THIS HANDBOOK............................................................................................................1B. HOW TO USE THIS HANDBOOK.....................................................................................................1C. WHO CAN USE THIS HANDBOOK..................................................................................................2
1. Prisoners in City or County Jail can use this Handbook.................................................................. 22. Prisoners in Federal Prison can use this Handbook ........................................................................ 23. Prisoners in Private Prison can use this Handbook......................................................................... 34. Prisoners in Every State can use this Handbook .............................................................................. 35. Keeping Up to Date and Learning More Details.............................................................................. 4
D. WHY TO TRY AND GET A LAWYER.............................................................................................4E. MONITORING YOUR LAWYER AND CASE..................................................................................5F. A SHORT HISTORY OF SECTION 1983 AND THE STRUGGLES FOR PRISONERS RIGHTS..5G. THE USES AND LIMITS OF LEGAL ACTIONS..............................................................................6
CHAPTER TWO: PLANNING YOUR SECTION 1983 SUIT...............................................................8
A. YOU CAN SUE ABOUT CERTAIN VIOLATIONS OF YOUR FEDERAL RIGHTS BY STATEEMPLOYEES............................................................................................................................................8
1. Violations of Your Federal Rights: Conditions and Treatment in Prison......................................... 82. “Under Color of State Law”............................................................................................................. 9
B. THE PRISON LITIGATION REFORM ACT (PLRA)........................................................................9C. YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION....................................................................10
1. Your Right to Freedom of Speech & Expression in Prison............................................................. 11(a) Access to Reading Materials......................................................................................................... 12(b) Free Expression of Political Beliefs.............................................................................................. 13(c) Limits on Censorship of Mail ........................................................................................................ 14(d) Your Right to Telephone Access.................................................................................................... 152. Your Right to Freedom of Religious Activity .................................................................................. 153. Protection from Racial Discrimination........................................................................................... 184. Protection from Sexual Discrimination .......................................................................................... 185. Due Process Rights Regarding Punishment, Administrative Transfers, and Segregation.............. 206. Fourth Amendment Limits on Prison Searches and Seizures.......................................................... 227. Eighth Amendment Protection from Physical Brutality.................................................................. 238. Your Right to Decent Conditions in Prison..................................................................................... 239. Your Right to Medical Care............................................................................................................ 2510. The Rights of Pretrial Detainees................................................................................................... 27 
D. INJUNCTIONS..................................................................................................................................28
1. When You Can Get an Injunction ................................................................................................... 292. Preliminary Injunctions.................................................................................................................. 293. Termination of an Injunction .......................................................................................................... 30
E. MONEY DAMAGES.........................................................................................................................30F. WHOM YOU CAN SUE....................................................................................................................32
1. Whom You Can Get An Injunction Against..................................................................................... 322. Whom You Can Get Money Damages From................................................................................... 333. What Happens to Your Money Damages........................................................................................ 33
G. SETTLEMENTS................................................................................................................................34H. CLASS ACTIONS..............................................................................................................................34
CHAPTER THREE: HOW TO START YOUR LAWSUIT..................................................................36
A. WHEN TO FILE YOUR SECTION 1983 SUIT................................................................................36

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