Prisoners' Rights

Many local laws and courts have been affected by COVID-19. Please use the search for legal help tool to find a legal aid organization or self help center near you for accurate information and more support.

Most Frequently Viewed Resources

If you cannot afford the filing fee or other court costs, you may qualify to have these fees and costs waived by the court.

Read about where to file your lawsuit or case. Information on jurisdiction and venue.

This section will give you general guidelines for how to best prepare yourself for court.

Whatever the reason, you have the right to represent yourself, to be your own lawyer in all cases in California.

A person held in custody by the state may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in a United States district court to challenge violations of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.

The comprehensive guide to your rights and options as a parent, including sample letters to send to the authorities. Topics covered - (1) arrest: what happens to my child? (2) placement: where will my child live? (3) foster care & dependency: how can i keep my family together while i'm in jail or prison? (4) family reunification: how do i get my child back when i get out? (5) making a record: what can i do while i'm in jail or prison? (6) paternity: how do i show i'm the dad? (7) de facto parent: what is it? (8) child support: how can i pay when i don't have any money? (9) special immigrant juvenile status: what is it? who qualifies?

Staff misconduct is behavior that violates law, regulation, policy or an ethical or professional standard.

Taking action against a prison, government, or employee.

Is your background record wrong? Was there a delay or problem?

The application process and how incarceration affects your benefits.

The Handbook discusses only some of the legal problems which prisoners face " conditions inside prison and the way you are treated by prison staff.

Your right to attend any legal event affecting your child.

The Constitution; Executive and Administrative Laws; County, Appellate, Supreme Court, and Federal Districts; State Legislation; and Legal Guides.

Despite the circumstances, some justice-involved Veterans may be eligible for VA benefits: disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial.

Includes information about second-strike early parole consideration and 2-for-1 credits for all minimum custody prisoners.

Find answers to common questions like: What can we do in their first few days of release? - How can I help someone in reentry? - What resources exist in housing? - When do we start planning for release? The toolkits are filled with planning tools, action steps, checklists, helpful hints, know-your-rights information, and referrals to critical reentry resources to empower individuals, their family members & loved ones, and service providers to develop individualized reentry plans.

This toolkit is designed for Family Members with a Loved One in Reentry or with an Arrest or Conviction Record. For a separate toolkit for people in reentry/with records please see: https://www.lawhelpca.org/Resource/reentry-planning-toolkit-people-reentrywith-records

Guardianships, dependency proceedings, getting a child out of a shelter, visitation rights of grandparents, when permanent custody is necessary, adoption, foster care, public benefits, relative caregiver options chart, and school issues.

Alphabetical Listing of Resources

The application and review process.

"A prisoner or parolee can file an administrative appeal to complain about an action taken by any employee of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) or any CDCR policy, procedure, or condition that affects them."

Examples of topics that an administrative appeal might address are medical care delays, failure to follow procedural rules for disciplinary violation hearings, miscalculation of work credits, restrictive mail policies, or visitor denials.

Information on the Prison Rape Elmination Act (PREA), your safety and protection from violence, your medical care: constitutional requirements, necessary medical care for many transgender individuals inludes access to clothing and grooming, standards consistent with gender identity, housing administrative segregation, your rights through searches, your privacy, and your safely preserving/enforcing your rights.

Know your rights against discrimiantion and abuse while in prison.

Find answers to common questions like: What can I do in my first few days of release? - How can I help someone in reentry? - What resources exist in housing? - When do we start planning for release? The toolkits are filled with planning tools, action steps, checklists, helpful hints, know-your-rights information, and referrals to critical reentry resources to empower individuals, their family members & loved ones, and service providers to develop individualized reentry plans.

This toolkit is designed for people in reentry/with records. For a separate toolkit for Family Members with a Loved One in Reentry or with an Arrest or Conviction Record please see: https://www.lawhelpca.org/Resource/reentry-planning-toolkit-family-members-loved-one-reentry-or-loved-one-arrest-or

California Criminal Cases; California Parole Suitability, Conditions and Revocation; California Prison Conditions; Immigration/Deportation; Juvenile Education Rights; Recent Projects and Development

The Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide is an encyclopedic 'know-your-rights' legal guide that people can turn to about issues along the path of reentry. It is comprehensive, covering 11 areas of law and life: Housing, Employment, Parole & Probation, Education, Record-Cleaning, Getting ID, Voting, Family & Children, Public Benefits, Court-ordered Debt, Tribal Issues, Immigration & more.

"Segregation" is the term used to describe a highly restrictive form of custody where a prisoner is taken out of the general prison population and placed in a "prison within a prison."

The rights of prisoners to fair disciplinary proceedings are rooted in the due process clauses of the U.S. and California Constitutions; however, those rights are not as broad as the rights of defendants facing criminal charges

Learn about voting eligibility and restrictions if you have a criminal record.